Reduction of hospitalizations for myocardial infarction in Italy in the COVID-19 era

Società Italiana di Cardiologia and the CCU Academy investigators group, Speranza Rubattu

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AIMS: To evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient admissions to Italian cardiac care units (CCUs).

METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a multicentre, observational, nationwide survey to collect data on admissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) at Italian CCUs throughout a 1 week period during the COVID-19 outbreak, compared with the equivalent week in 2019. We observed a 48.4% reduction in admissions for AMI compared with the equivalent week in 2019 (P < 0.001). The reduction was significant for both ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction [STEMI; 26.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 21.7-32.3; P = 0.009] and non-STEMI (NSTEMI; 65.1%, 95% CI 60.3-70.3; P < 0.001). Among STEMIs, the reduction was higher for women (41.2%; P = 0.011) than men (17.8%; P = 0.191). A similar reduction in AMI admissions was registered in North Italy (52.1%), Central Italy (59.3%), and South Italy (52.1%). The STEMI case fatality rate during the pandemic was substantially increased compared with 2019 [risk ratio (RR) = 3.3, 95% CI 1.7-6.6; P < 0.001]. A parallel increase in complications was also registered (RR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-2.8; P = 0.009).

CONCLUSION: Admissions for AMI were significantly reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic across Italy, with a parallel increase in fatality and complication rates. This constitutes a serious social issue, demanding attention by the scientific and healthcare communities and public regulatory agencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2083-2088
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Jun 7 2020


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Coronavirus Infections
  • Female
  • Hospitalization/trends
  • Humans
  • Italy/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction/complications
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral


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