The following is the summary of “Clinical Outcomes of Telehealth in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease and Heart Failure During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” published in the January 2023 issue of Cardiovascular Disease by Woo et al.
Rapid telehealth (TH) implementation was called for during the COVID-19 pandemic, but concerns about its security in specialist clinical practice persist. Eligible adult patients who attended cardiologists between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020 (TH period) were identified to evaluate the clinical outcomes associated with TH usage in patients with coronary artery disease and/or heart failure during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. 3-month sub cohorts of patients (TH1 and TH2) were compared to the 2019 pre-pandemic sub cohorts. Cardiovascular (CV) events occurring within three months of index visits were the primary outcome.
Patients aged ≥ 75 and older who used TH for at least 3 months were analyzed for CV events. The correlation between TH consumption and CV outcomes was calculated using multivariate logistic regression analysis. In total, 6,485 TH and 7,557 pre-pandemic participants were included in the analysis. There were 35% women in the sample and a mean age of ≥70. Visits during the TH period were 68% of all visits, up from 0% during the pre-pandemic era. Over 92% of all TH contacts were conducted by phone.
Overall, CV events were reduced in TH patients compared to those seen before the pandemic (adjusted odds ratio 0.78, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.90). Adjusted odds ratio 0.70, 95% confidence interval 0.55 to 0.89; comparable results were seen in patients aged ≥75 years. Similar results were found in an additional study of CV outcome events occurring within 6 months of index visits. Finally, TH, primarily through telephone contacts, can be safely integrated into the ambulatory cardiology practice at any age.