Document Type



Department of Medicine; Cardiothoracic Surgery; Cardiology; Centre for Innovation in Medical Education


Introduction: COVID-19 has manifested a striking disarray in healthcare access and provision, particularly amongst patients presenting with life-threatening ischemic heart disease (IHD). The paucity of data from low-middle income countries has limited our understanding of the consequential burden in the developing world. We aim to compare volumes, presentations, management strategies, and outcomes of IHD amongst patients presenting in the same calendar months before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional analysis at the Aga Khan University Hospital, one of the premier tertiary care centres in Pakistan. Data were collected on all adult patients (>18 years) who were admitted with IHD (acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and stable angina) from March 1 to June 30, 2019 (pre-COVID) and March 1 to June 30, 2020 (during-COVID), respectively. Group differences for continuous variables were evaluated using student t-test or Mann-Whitney U test. The chi-squared test or Fisher test was used for categorical variables. Values of p less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant. P-value trend calculation and graphical visualization were done using STATA (StataCorp, College Station, TX).
Results: Data were assimilated on 1019 patients, with 706 (69.3%) and 313 (30.7%) patients presenting in each respective group (pre-COVID and during-COVID). Current smoking status (p=0.019), admission source (p<0.001), month of admission (p<0.001), proportions ACS (p<0.001), non-ST-elevation-myocardial-infarction (NSTEMI; p<0.001), unstable angina (p=0.025) and medical management (p=0.002) showed significant differences between the two groups, with a sharp decline in the during-COVID group. Monthly trend analysis of ACS patients showed the most significant differences in admissions (p=0.001), geographic region (intra-district vs intracity vs outside city) (p<0.001), time of admission (p=0.038), NSTEMI (p=0.002) and medical management (p=0.001).
Conclusion: These data showcase stark declines in ACS admissions, diagnostic procedures (angiography) and revascularization interventions (angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery, CABG) in a developing country where resources and research are already inadequate. This study paves the way for further investigations downstream on the short- and long-term consequences of untreated IHD and reluctance in health-seeking behaviour.


Pagination are not provided by the author/publisher

Publication (Name of Journal)


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.