Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

ObjectiveTo monitor hospital activity for presentation, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases during the COVID-19) pandemic to inform on indirect effects.MethodsRetrospective serial cross-sectional study in nine UK hospitals using hospital activity data from 28 October 2019 (pre-COVID-19) to 10 May 2020 (pre-easing of lockdown) and for the same weeks during 2018-2019. We analysed aggregate data for selected cardiovascular diseases before and during the epidemic. We produced an online visualisation tool to enable near real-time monitoring of trends.ResultsAcross nine hospitals, total admissions and emergency department (ED) attendances decreased after lockdown (23 March 2020) by 57.9% (57.1%-58.6%) and 52.9% (52.2%-53.5%), respectively, compared with the previous year. Activity for cardiac, cerebrovascular and other vascular conditions started to decline 1-2 weeks before lockdown and fell by 31%-88% after lockdown, with the greatest reductions observed for coronary artery bypass grafts, carotid endarterectomy, aortic aneurysm repair and peripheral arterial disease procedures. Compared with before the first UK COVID-19 (31 January 2020), activity declined across diseases and specialties between the first case and lockdown (total ED attendances relative reduction (RR) 0.94, 0.93-0.95; total hospital admissions RR 0.96, 0.95-0.97) and after lockdown (attendances RR 0.63, 0.62-0.64; admissions RR 0.59, 0.57-0.60). There was limited recovery towards usual levels of some activities from mid-April 2020.ConclusionsSubstantial reductions in total and cardiovascular activities are likely to contribute to a major burden of indirect effects of the pandemic, suggesting they should be monitored and mitigated urgently.

Original publication




Journal article


Heart (British Cardiac Society)

Publication Date





1890 - 1897


University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


CVD-COVID-UK Consortium, Humans, Cardiovascular Diseases, Patient Admission, Retrospective Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Time Factors, Needs Assessment, Cardiology Service, Hospital, Emergency Service, Hospital, Health Services Needs and Demand, Delivery of Health Care, Integrated, United Kingdom, COVID-19