HumanInsight The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on pulmonary hypertension: What have we learned?
Pulm Circ. 2022 Oct 1;12(4):e12142. doi: 10.1002/pul2.12142. eCollection 2022 Oct.
The coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) pandemic threatened the Spanish health-care system. Patients with demanding conditions such as precapillary pulmonary hypertension (PH) faced a potentially severe infection, while their usual access to medical care was restricted. This prospective, unicentric study assessed the impact of COVID-19 on PH patients' outcomes and the operational changes in the PH network. Sixty-three PH patients (41 pulmonary arterial hypertension [PAH]; 22 chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension [CTEPH]) experienced COVID-19. Overall mortality was 9.5% without differences when stratifying by hemodynamics or PAH-risk score. Patients who died were older (73.6 ± 5 vs. 52.2 ± 15.4; p = 0.001), with more comorbidities (higher Charlson index: 4.17 ± 2.48 vs. 1.14 ± 1.67; p = 0.0002). Referrals to the PH expert center decreased compared to the previous 3 years (123 vs. 160; p = 0.002). The outpatient activity shifted toward greater use of telemedicine. Balloon pulmonary angioplasty activity could be maintained after the first pandemic wave and lockdown while pulmonary thromboendarterectomy procedures decreased (19 vs. 36; p = 0.017). Pulmonary transplantation activity remained similar. The COVID-19 mortality in PAH/CTEPH patients was not related to hemodynamic severity or risk stratification, but to comorbidities. The pandemic imposed structural changes but a planned organization and resource reallocation made it possible to maintain PH patients' care.
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