OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on acute and elective thoracic and abdominal aortic procedures .
METHODS: Forty departments shared their data on acute and elective thoracic and abdominal aortic procedures between January and May 2020 and January and May 2019 in Europe, Asia and the USA . Admission rates as well as delay from onset of symptoms to referral were compared .
RESULTS: No differences in the number of acute thoracic and abdominal aortic procedures were observed between 2020 and the reference period in 2019 [incidence rates ratio (IRR): 0.96, confidence interval (CI) 0.89-1.04; P = 0.39]. Also, no difference in the time interval from acute onset of symptoms to referral was recorded (< 12 h 32% vs> 12 h 68% in 2020, <12 h 34% vs> 12 h 66% in 2019 P = 0.29). Conversely, a decline of 35% in elective procedures was seen (IRR : 0.81, CI 0.76-0.87; P <0.001) with substantial differences between countries and the most pronounced decline in Italy (-40%, P <0.001). Interestingly, in Switzerland, an increase in the number of elective cases was observed (+35%, P = 0.02).
CONCLUSIONS: There was no change in the number of acute thoracic and abdominal aortic cases and procedures during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas the case load of elective operations and procedures decreased significantly . Patients with acute aortic syndromes presented despite COVID-19 and were managed according to current guidelines . Further analysis is required to prove that deferral of elective cases had no impact on premature mortality.