Objectives: The INCAPS COVID Oceania study aimed to assess the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac procedure volume provided in the Oceania region.

Methods: A retrospective survey was performed comparing procedure volumes within March 2019 (pre-COVID-19) with April 2020 (during first wave of COVID-19 pandemic). 63 healthcare facilities within Oceania that perform cardiac diagnostic procedures were surveyed, including a mixture of metropolitan and regional, hospital and outpatient, public and private sites, and 846 facilities outside of Oceania. The percentage change in procedure volume was measured between March 2019 and April 2020, compared by test type and by facility.

Results: In Oceania, the total cardiac diagnostic procedure volume was reduced by 52.2% from March 2019 to April 2020, compared to a reduction of 75.9% seen in the rest of the world (p <0.001). Within Oceania sites, this reduction varied significantly between procedure types, but not between types of healthcare facility. All procedure types (other than stress cardiac MR and PET) saw significant reductions in volume over this time period (p <0.001). In Oceania, transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) decreased by 51.6%, transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) by 74.0%, and stress tests by 65% overall, which was more pronounced for stress ECG (81.8%) and stress echocardiography (76.7%) compared to stress SPECT (44.3%). Invasive coronary angiography decreased by 36.7% in Oceania.

Conclusion: A significant reduction in cardiac diagnostic procedure volume was seen across all facility types in Oceania and was likely a function of recommendations from cardiac societies and directives from government to minimise spread of COVID-19 amongst patients and staff. Longer-term evaluation is important to assess for negative patient outcomes which may relate to deferral of usual models of care within cardiology.


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Cite as

O'Sullivan, P., Younger, J., Van Pelt, N., O'Malley, S., Lenturut-Katal, D., Hirschfeld, C., Vitola , J., Cerci, R., Williams, M., Shaw, L., Raggi, P., Villines, T., Dorbala, S., Choi, A., Cohen, Y., Goebel, B., Malkovskiy, E., Randazzo, M., Pascual, T., Pynda, Y., Dondi, M., Paez, D., Einstein, A. & Better, N. 2021, 'Impact of COVID-19 on diagnostic cardiac procedural volume in Oceania: the IAEA Non-invasive Cardiology Protocol Survey on COVID-19 (INCAPS COVID)', Heart, Lung and Circulation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hlc.2021.04.021

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Last updated: 20 June 2023
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