To determine whether the number of patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes has reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Numbers of primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) activations, ST elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMIs) and non-ST elevation myocardial infarctions (NSTEMIs) in a large tertiary Greater London centre and a large district general hospital, both of which have on-site heart attack centres, were collected. We compared the number of PPCI activations, STEMI, NSTEMIs and all MIs prior to the COVID-19 era (January to third week of February 2020), after the start of some COVID-19 restrictions taking place (fourth week of February 2020) and after formal instruction by the United Kingdom Government that all citizens were to observe strict social distancing measures (20 March 2020). We further obtained data for the corresponding weekly figures from 2019.
The average weekly figure of all myocardial infarction in 2020, prior to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions/awareness in the UK (beginning of January to third week of February), did not differ when compared with corresponding weeks in 2019 (23.3 ± 5.4 in 2019 21.13 ± 3.5,  = 0.411).With increased media reporting and associated public awareness of the threat of COVID-19 (last week of February), there was a significant reduction in all myocardial infarction (27.1 ± 4.7 in 2019 15.9 ± 3.6 in 2020,  < 0.001). Following official governmental instruction that mandated strict social distancing and the 'stay at home' campaign, the weekly figures of STEMI (15 ± 3.5 in 2019 10 ± 4.4 in 2020,  = 0.013), NSTEMI (13 ± 2.6 in 2019 4.7 ± 2.3 in 2020,  = 0.038) and all myocardial infarction (28 ± 6.1 in 2019 14.7 ± 5.7 in 2020,  = 0.008) have remained significantly reduced.
We have observed an unexpected major decline in presentations (and treatment) of the entire spectrum of acute coronary syndromes following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide public-health measures that have promoted the importance of strict social distancing and self-quarantine.