Covid-19 increases cardiovascular risk. The Economist Impact study

In addition to the increasing prevalence of CVD risk factors, the Economist Impact report confirms that people who have tested positive for Covid-19 are at a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases and related clinical events, such as heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke and arrhythmia. The research was sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo Europe.

10 MAY

People tested positive for COVID-19 develop symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) more frequently and, as a result of the pandemic situation, an increase in the burden of these diseases is expected in the medium and long term, accompanied by the urgency to respond to a crescendo of unmet needs in the management of these patients. This is confirmed by a new independent analysis conducted by the Economist and sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo Europe.

The “Links between Covid-19 and Cardiovascular Disease” report published by Economist Impact examined the scientific evidence available to date, in order to measure the impact that the pandemic has had on patients with cardiovascular disease, on the quality and quantity of cardiovascular care offered, as well as the future implications of Long-COVID for European health systems . With a focus on the regions of Western Europe – notably Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK – the main findings of the report are based on multiple studies, opinions of expert cardiologists, neurologists and professionals involved in public health, in order to identify areas for improvement needed to address the growing needs of the cardiovascular patient community.

The impact of the virus on the risks associated with cardiovascular diseases
In addition to the increasing prevalence of CVD risk factors, the Economist Impact report confirms that people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and related clinical events, such as heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke and arrhythmia.

A UK study of nearly 50,000 people hospitalized due to a coronavirus infection found that 4.8% experienced a major adverse cardiovascular event during the five months following discharge, three times the rate seen in the control group; A review of multiple international studies that looked at the echocardiography results of patients three to six months after covid-19 infection reported that, on average, 40% of them showed diastolic dysfunction.

Among those who develop covid-19, individuals with cardiovascular disease are up to 3.9 times more likely to experience severe symptoms and up to 2.7 times more likely to die than COVID patients without prior cardiovascular conditions. And these are just some of the numerous evidences reported in the Economist’s analysis.

The implications of the pandemic response for cardiovascular patients
The report also highlights the indirect implications of COVID-19 on health systems and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. During the pandemic, the limited capacity of overloaded health systems, combined with patients’ fear of exposure to the virus, meant that cardiovascular care was reduced at all levels, in turn increasing short-term mortality and risk. long-term.

For example, a study by the Italian Society of Cardiology of 54 healthcare facilities reported that hospitalizations in the emergency room for acute myocardial infarction decreased by 48% in the period 14-21 March 2020 compared to the same week in 2019. Also for the type of most dangerous infarction – ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) – hospitalizations decreased by 27%. Admissions for less dangerous but still very severe myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) decreased by 65%. Data from the US, China and the UK show a similar trend. The same Italian study revealed that, in addition to a decline in emergency room admissions, mortality among heart attack patients has increased, suggesting that people were arriving at the hospital already in serious condition. Not only did these delays in seeking treatment lead to increased mortality, but for those who survived, they exacerbated the risk of chronic cardiovascular disease. One of the authors of the study, Dr. Salvatore De Rosaassociate professor of cardiology at the Magna Graecia University and consultant for writing the report, noted a higher number of patients presenting complications in his clinic “which are evidence of previous acute events that have not been treated. We need to go back to” all those patients who are left behind “.

According to the results of the report, this phenomenon has continued in the medium term; nearly a year after the onset of the pandemic, the World Health Organization still reported widespread disruptions in hypertension management and emergency cardiovascular treatment. Research conducted by Economist Impact found that this disruption took different forms at different levels of care: from the inevitable lack of emergency services and risk factor management to delays in diagnosing CVD.

The ripple effects of Long Covid
The term “Long COVID” describes the still poorly understood, but apparently common, consequence of COVID-19 infection. Research suggests that common manifestations of Long COVID, such as dyspnea and fatigue, are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, including heart failure and heart attack. Commenting on the Economist Impact report, Dr. Amitava Banerjee, a consultant cardiologist and professor of Clinical Data Science at University College London, explained that “We are only scratching the surface when it comes to the long-term impact of COVID-19 in the cardiovascular field, and in time there will likely emerge a greater amount of data “. The report also indicates the challenges arising from Long COVID could increase the burden of cardiovascular management in both the short and medium term, requiring the implementation of preventive strategies that adapt to an evolving healthcare landscape. “People are presenting in much more advanced stages of cardiovascular disease, which means that treating them is much more complicated and favorable outcomes are less likely. We need to focus more attention on identifying risk factors and detecting cardiovascular symptoms early. By doing this we can also ease the strain on already burdened health systems, ”concluded Dr Banerjee.

The pressing urgency to return efforts to cardiovascular prevention and treatment
The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that individual healthcare spending will grow by 4.1% globally in 2022 but, thereafter, the rate of this growth will decrease. Compared to GDP, it expects health expenditure to remain the same, at 10.5%. But, while the acute crisis of the pandemic required immediate attention and resources, the Economist Impact report demonstrates the pressing urgency for health systems to refocus efforts to address the unmet needs of patients with cardiovascular disease, the main cause of death in Europe.

“Now more than ever we must address the enormous impact of CVD in Europe, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. – He commented Oliver Appelhans, Head Commercial Operations, Head Affiliate & Partner Management Specialty Medicines of Daiichi Sankyo Europe – As a public health industry, we play an important role in meeting the needs of the medical community and helping protect people from cardiovascular disease. Daiichi Sankyo continues its commitment alongside healthcare and industrial partners, with the aim of contributing to better care – always placing prevention at the center of our efforts. “

May 10, 2022
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