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The global impact of the first Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic wave on vascular services

By Vascular and Endovascular Research Network, Ruth A Benson, Sandip Nandhra

Posted 17 Jul 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.16.20153593

Background: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on healthcare delivery. This international qualitative study captured the global impact on vascular patient care during the first pandemic wave. Methods: An online structured survey was used to collect regular unit-level data regarding the modification to a wide range of vascular services and treatment pathways on a global scale. Results: The survey commenced on 23rd March 2020 worldwide. Over six weeks, 249 vascular units took part in 53 countries (465 individual responses). Overall, 65% of units stopped carotid surgery for anyone except patients with crescendo symptoms or offered surgery on a case-by-case basis, 25% only intervened for symptomatic aortic aneurysms cancelling all elective repairs. For patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease 60% of units moved to an endovascular-first strategy. For patients who had previously undergone endovascular aortic aneurysm repair, 31.8% of units stopped all postoperative surveillance. Of those units regularly engaging in multidisciplinary team meetings, 59.5% of units stopped regular meetings and 39.1% had not replaced them. Further, 20% of units did not have formal personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines in place and 25% reported insufficient PPE availability. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on vascular services worldwide. There will be a significant vascular disease burden awaiting screening and intervention after the pandemic.

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