Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly impacted management of cardiovascular disease. This study sought to quantify effects of COVID-19 on cardiovascular diagnostic procedures and safety practices in Asia.

Methods and Results: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted a worldwide survey to assess changes in cardiovascular procedure volume and safety practices due to COVID-19. Testing volumes were obtained from participating sites for March and April 2020 and compared to those from March 2019. Data from 180 centers across 33 Asian countries were grouped into four sub-regions for comparison. Procedure volumes decreased by 47% between March 2019 and March 2020, with Eastern Asia (China, Korea, Japan, and Mongolia) showing recovery between March 2020 and April 2020. The majority of centers reported cancelled outpatient activities and increased time per study. Practice changes included implementing physical distancing and restricting visitors. Although COVID testing was not commonly performed, it was conducted in one third of facilities in Eastern Asia. Severe reductions in procedure volumes were observed in low-income countries.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic in Asia was associated with a significant reduction in cardiovascular diagnostic procedures, particularly in the poorer countries. Further studies on cardiovascular outcomes and COVID-19-related changes in care delivery are warranted.


© 2021, The Authors. Published by Elsevier on Behalf of The American College of Cardiology Foundation. This is an Open Access Article under the CC BY-NC-ND License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Cite as

Kudo, T., Lahey, R., Hirschfeld, C., Williams, M., Lu, B., Alasnag, M., Bhatia, M., Bom, H., Dautov, T., Fazel, R., Karthikeyan, G., Keng, F., Rubinshtein, R., Better, N., Cerci, R., Dorbala, S., Raggi, P., Shaw, L., Villines, T., Vitola, J., Choi, A., Malkovskiy, E., Goebel, B., Cohen, Y., Randazzo, M., Pascual, T., Pynda, Y., Dondi, M., Paez, D., Einstein, A. & INCAPS COVID Investigators Group 2021, 'Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Cardiovascular Testing in Asia: the IAEA INCAPS-COVID Study', Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 1(2), pp. 187-199. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacasi.2021.06.002

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 20 June 2023
Was this page helpful?