MONDAY, June 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A significant decline was seen in the monthly surgical case volume of acute type A aortic dissection in New York City after COVID-19, according to a research letter published online May 14 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Ismail El-Hamamsy, M.D., Ph.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the incidence of acute type A aortic dissections using data from 11 hospitals/health systems providing cardiac surgery in New York City. All cases of surgical repair of acute type A aortic dissections were captured from Jan. 1, 2018, to April 15, 2020.

The researchers identified a significant and precipitous 76.5 percent drop in the monthly surgical case volume of acute type A aortic dissection, from 12.8 ± 4.6 cases/month before COVID-19 to 3.0 ± 1.0 cases/month after COVID-19. Low volumes were observed in March and April 2020, confirming the observation. The unusually low volumes after COVID-19 were confirmed in an analysis of the volumes in January to April of the last three years.

“While no causal relationship can be firmly established between the drop in type A aortic dissections, the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City and the increase in at-home deaths since the last week of March 2020, this gives pause for thought,” the authors write. “It is critical, as we adjust to the pandemic, to balance the public health imperative of social distancing with the individual need to consult in the presence of sudden severe symptoms.”

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