Research presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons revealed that last year there has been a substantial decline in overall heart surgery volume owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The study said 2020 saw an unexplained increase in deaths after coronary artery bypass grafting.

Tom C. Nguyen, MD, University of California, San Francisco, said: “This study was a true herculean analysis and tour de force that showed the Covid effect on adult cardiac surgery volume, trends, and outcomes. The pandemic has changed the world as we know it, causing a dramatic drop in adult cardiac surgery volume and worsening patient outcomes.”

Also read: New York sees 139% rise in deaths due to ischemic heart diseases amidst Covid-19 pandemic

For the study, the team of researchers analysed the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database from January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2020, and The Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Dashboard from February 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021.

The researchers examined data from 717,103 adult cardiac surgery patients and more than 20 million Covid-19 patients.


According to the findings, there was a 53 per cent decrease nationwide in all adult cardiac surgery volume when compared to 2019 and 65 per cent fewer elective cases in the US. Covid also impacted non-elective cases, resulting in a 40 per cent decrease.

In addition, the data showed that no matter the procedure, there was a significant decline in case volume (54 per cent) when compared to 2019.

Regionally, the Mid-Atlantic area (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), was among those most affected by the Covid crisis, experiencing a 71 per cent decrease in overall case volume. Another hotspot, the New England region (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island), showed a 63 per cent reduction in overall case volume.

“We clearly demonstrated that if you have heart surgery during Covid, you have an increased risk of morbidity and mortality,” said Dr Nguyen, adding that “No doubt that Covid hit us hard.”

The findings of the study were mentioned in the journal News Medical and Life Sciences.