Cross-sectional case-control studies (Blue)
A remarkable decline in admissions for acute stroke and acute coronary syndrome (ACS) has been reported in countries severely hit by the COVID‐19 pandemic. However, limited data are available from countries with less COVID‐19 burden focusing on concurrent stroke and ACS hospitalisation rates from the same population. This study was conducted in three geographically and demographically representative COVID‐19 referral university hospitals in Greece. The authors recorded the rate of stroke and ACS hospital admissions during a 6‐week period of the COVID‐19 outbreak in 2020 and compared them with the rates of the corresponding period in 2019. A greater relative reduction of stroke admissions (51% [35 vs 71] was found; incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 0.49, p=0.001) compared with ACS admissions (27% [123 vs 168]; IRR: 0.73, p=0.009) during the COVID‐19 outbreak (p=0.097). Fewer older (>65 years) patients (Stroke: 34.3 vs 45.1%, OR: 0.64, p=0.291; ACS: 39.8 vs 54.2%, OR: 0.56, p=0.016) were admitted during the COVID‐19 pandemic compared with the control period.
The authors concluded that hospitalisation rates both for stroke and ACS were reduced during the COVID‐19 outbreak in a country with strict social distancing measures, low COVID‐19 incidence and low population mortality. Lack of triggers for stroke and ACS during social distancing/quarantining may explain these observations. However, medical care avoidance attitudes among cerebro/cardiovascular patients should be dissipated amidst the rising second COVID‐19 wave.