Henry Mayo Physician Co-Authors Study That Documents Decline in Patient Seeking Heart Care During the Pandemic

Virtually every hospital in America, including Henry Mayo, saw a decline in Emergency Department traffic as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. The assumption was that, because of COVID-19, people were putting off seeking needed health care.

Dr. James Lee*, MD, the Medical Director of Henry Mayo's Roberta G. Veloz Cardiac Cath Lab, co-authored a study that documented a decline in those seeking care for heart attacks when pandemic restrictions were first implemented. Conversely, the study documented a rise on those seeking care for heart attacks as restrictions were eased.

The authors of the study found that patients also may have missed important appointments or failed to refill important medications for their cardiovascular conditions. In relation, there was a statistically significant increase in worsened cardiac catheterization related illnesses during this same time period (March – May 2020) – a clear sign that putting off care often resulted in patients having to be treated for more serious conditions.

Dr. Lee’s study was published by the American Heart Association.

Since the very beginning of the pandemic, Henry Mayo has taken steps to ensure the safety of every patient who comes to our Emergency Department (ED). These steps include screening patients before they come into the ED and isolating patients who have COVID-19 symptoms. If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, do not delay seeking needed medical care. When it comes to the heart, time is muscle.

*Dr. James Lee is the Medical Director of Henry Mayo's Roberta G. Veloz Cardiac Cath Lab. Dr. Lee is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of the Department of Medicine at UCLA and the Associate Regional Director of Interventional Cardiology at UCLA Health.