Excess Cardiovascular Mortality in the United States During COVID-19: A Detailed Analysis
A comprehensive study called “Excess cardiovascular mortality across multiple COVID-19 waves in the United States from March 2020 to March 2022” has examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in the United States, providing vital insights into the pandemic’s indirect toll on healthcare systems and patient outcomes.
Here’s a summary of its key findings:
- Increased Cardiovascular Deaths: Between March 2020 and March 2022, the U.S. experienced 90,160 excess cardiovascular deaths, equating to a 4.9% increase over expected levels. These deaths showed two significant peaks corresponding with the major waves of COVID-19 infections.
- Global Impact and Healthcare Challenges: The pandemic led to over 18.2 million deaths globally, including 5.9 million reported COVID-19 deaths. Patients with chronic conditions like CVD faced increased mortality due to overburdened healthcare services and changes in health-seeking behavior. The reallocation of healthcare resources was critical but had varied impacts across different regions and waves of the pandemic.
- Detailed Analysis of Excess Mortality: The study investigated the excess mortality due to CVDs across multiple pandemic waves, offering insights into both short- and long-term effects on the circulatory system. This analysis is crucial for health authorities in optimizing healthcare resources for CVD patients during the ongoing pandemic.
- Temporal Patterns of CVD Mortality: The trajectory of excess CVD deaths had five distinct waves, closely aligned with COVID-19 death trends. Notably, ischemic heart disease (IHD) and hypertensive disease accounted for significant portions of these deaths. The fourth wave (June–November 2021) showed the highest number of excess deaths.
- Variation by State and Demographics: Excess CVD mortalities and percentages varied significantly by state, age, sex, and race/ethnicity. Southern states like Mississippi and Maine were among the most affected. The excess mortality was greater in men than in women and was highest among non-Hispanic Black individuals.
- Consistency with Previous Studies: The findings align with prior research showing excess CVD deaths primarily due to acute CVD events. Disruptions to routine and emergency cardiovascular medical care during the pandemic are suggested as key factors contributing to these trends.
- Acute Myocardial Infarction Impact: Acute myocardial infarction accounted for about 29% of the total excess CVD deaths over the past two years, underscoring the need for maintaining healthcare delivery for acute CVD events during the pandemic.
In conclusion, the study sheds light on the substantial and ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular health in the United States. It highlights the critical need for continued adaptation and improvement in healthcare delivery for CVD patients amidst the pandemic’s evolving challenges.