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- Doctors in the United States Record Unexplained Drop in the Number of Patients with Myocardial Infarction
Video: Doctors In The United States Record Unexplained Drop In The Number Of Patients With Myocardial Infarction
Doctors in the United States Record Unexplained Drop in the Number of Patients with Myocardial Infarction
The US medical community is puzzled by a sharp decline in the flow of patients with myocardial infarction and a number of other diseases. All this is happening against the backdrop of a serious increase in the number of people infected with COVID-2019. Experts have a number of assumptions about this, however, without scientific confirmation of the hypotheses, the question remains open.
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American cardiologists are concerned about the sharp decline in the number of new patients with myocardial infarction. Anecdotal evidence indicates that in some hospitals their number has decreased by about 60%. This question was raised by Harlan M. Krumholz, a professor at Yale University, in an article in The New York Times.
Krumholtz writes that the number of beds for patients with COVID-19 is constantly growing at the Yale University Hospital in New Haven, where he works. At the same time, the hospital's workload is now lower than usual due to a decrease in the number of patients with other diseases.
According to Kramgolts, he has never seen so many empty beds in his life. Part of the "desolation" can be explained by the cancellation of many planned procedures and the growing role of telemedicine. But these restrictions were not supposed to apply to people with acute illnesses.
In an informal poll organized on Twitter by the online community of cardiologists, almost half of the respondents said that in their hospital the number of patients with heart attacks had decreased by 40-60%, about 20% of doctors indicated a decrease in patient admissions by more than 60%.
Similar messages come from other countries as well. For example, in Spain, in the last week of March, the number of emergency procedures performed for heart attacks decreased by 40% compared to the indicators before the pandemic.
On Twitter, doctors from many specialties say the number of other emergencies (including appendicitis, acute cholecystitis) has also declined.
Why is this happening
Professor Kramholtz points out that the worst explanation for this phenomenon would be that patients stay at home despite acute heart pain and do not risk going to hospitals in fear of contracting the new coronavirus. It is likely that many of these patients do end up in the hospital late. Doctors in Hong Kong have reported that the number of patients who are admitted to hospitals with myocardial infarction at a stage where the most effective treatments cannot be applied has increased.
There are other possible explanations for the "disappearance" of heart attacks. Perhaps, Kramholtz suggests, the factors provoking a heart attack have disappeared from the lives of many people: excessive nutrition and heavy physical exertion. He notes that this theory can hardly explain such a large decline in the number of such patients.
Everything should have been the other way around
Professor Krumholtz points out that he and his colleagues expected a completely different picture. Respiratory infections usually double the risk of myocardial infarction. Now, after the season of colds, their number should increase. In addition, the stress, anxiety and depression that accompany pandemics also increase the likelihood of both heart attacks and strokes. After all, COVID-19 can directly affect the heart muscle.
Dr. Krumholtz made an appeal to all patients: do not delay the necessary treatment. During a pandemic, medical attention does not need to be avoided, as this can lead to more deaths than deaths from COVID-19. These deaths will not be attributed to infection, but will undoubtedly be mediated by it. The professor reminded patients with chronic diseases that refusing to help with them may turn out to be no less a risk than coronavirus.
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