Objectives: The clinical environment has been forced to adapt to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Intensive care facilities were expanded in anticipation of the pandemic where the consequences include severe delays in elective procedures. Emergent procedures such as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in which delays in timely delivery have well established adverse prognostic effects must also be explored in the context of changes in procedure and public behaviour associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim for this single centre retrospective cohort study is to determine if door-to-balloon (D2B) times in PCI for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) during the United Kingdom’s first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic differed from pre-COVID-19 populations.

Methods: Data was extracted from our single centre PCI database for all patients that underwent pPCI for STEMI. The reference (Pre-COVID-19) cohort was collected over the period 01-03-2019 to 31-05-2019 and the exposure group (COVID-19) over the period 01-03-2020 to 31-05-2020. Baseline patient characteristics for both populations were extracted. The primary outcome measurement was D2B times. Secondary outcome measurements included: time of symptom onset to call for help, transfer time to first hospital, transfer time from non-PCI to PCI centre, time from call-to-help to PCI centre, time to table and onset of symptoms to balloon time. Categorical and continuous variables were assessed with Chi squared and Mann-Whitney U analysis respectively. Procedural times were calculated and compared in the context of heterogeneity findings.

Results: 4 baseline patient characteristics were unbalanced between populations with statistical significance (P<0.05). The pre-covid-19 cohort was more likely to have suffered out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and had left circumflex disease, whereas the 1st wave cohort were more likely to have been investigated with left ventriculography and be of Afro-Caribbean origin. No statistically significant difference in in-hospital procedural times was found with D2B, C2B, O2B times comparable between groups. Pre-hospital delays were the greatest contributors in missed target times: the 1st wave group had significantly longer delayed time of symptom onset to call for help (Control: 31 mins; IQR [82.5] vs 1st wave: 60 mins; IQR [90.0], P=0.001) and time taken from call for help to arrival at the PCI hospital (control: 72 mins; IQR [23] vs 1st wave: 80 mins; IQR [66.5], P=0.042). 

Conclusion: Enhanced infection prevention and control procedures considering the COVID-19 pandemic did not impede the delivery of pPCI in our single centre cohort. The public health impact of the pandemic has been demonstrated with times being significantly impacted by patient related delays. The recovery of public engagement in emergency medical services must become the focus for public health initiatives as we emerge from the height of COVID-19 disease burden in the UK.


Copyright © 2021 AJCD. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at https://e-century.us/files/ajcd/11/5/ajcd0136922.pdf.

Cite as

Frain, K., Rathod, K., Tumi, E., Chen, Y., Hamshere, S., Choudry, F., Akhtar, M., Curtis, M., Amersey, R., Guttman, O., O'Mahony, C., Jain, A., Wragg, A., Baumbach, A., Mathur, A., Jones, D. & Rees, P. 2021, 'The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of primary percutaneous coronary intervention in STEMI', American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease, 11(5), pp. 647-658. http://hdl.handle.net/10023/25912

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Last updated: 04 October 2022
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