For a study, researchers sought to investigate the influence of the pandemic on cardiac testing procedures, diagnostic service volumes, and kinds, and health care personnel’ felt psychological stress globally. The International Atomic Energy Agency carried out a global study to analyze changes from baseline in cardiovascular diagnostic care at the start of the pandemic and one year afterward. Factors related to procedure volume recovery were identified using multivariable regression.

About 669 centers in 107 countries provided surveys. The global decline in cardiac procedure volumes of 64% from March 2019 to April 2020 was recovered by April 2021 in high- and upper-middle-income countries (recovery rates of 108% and 99%, respectively) but remained low in lower-middle- and low-income nations (46% and 30% recovery). Although stress testing was utilized 14% less frequently in 2021 than in 2019, coronary computed tomographic angiography was used 14% more frequently, a pattern reflected in other advanced cardiac imaging modalities (positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance; 22% -25% increases). It is believed that pandemic-related psychological stress affected 40% of employees, affecting patient care at 78% of locations. In multivariable regression, only lower-income status and physicians’ psychological stress were significant predictors of cardiac testing recovery.

In low-income nations, cardiac diagnostic testing has yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels. The decline in traditional stress testing is compensated globally by the increased use of sophisticated cardiac imaging modalities. However, pandemic-related psychological stress is frequent among providers and has been linked to poor cardiac testing recovery.