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Researchers in the Nuffield Department of Population Health and the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, working with NHS Digital and a team of experts from other UK universities, have analysed the number of admissions to hospitals in England for heart attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results based on data collected by NHS Digital from NHS Hospital Trusts in England up to 24 May 2020 were published in The Lancet on 14 July 2020 and showed that hospital admissions for heart attack fell by about one third between the middle of February and the end of March 2020 (see figure). Read press release.

By the end of May, admission rates had partially recovered but, by that point, there had been about 5,000 fewer admissions with heart attack in 2020 than would be expected, suggesting that many patients have missed out on lifesaving treatment.

Admissions with the most serious type of heart attack, caused by a complete blockage of an artery supplying part of the heart, fell by nearly a quarter, while rates of admission for heart attacks caused by a partial blockage of blood supply to the heart fell by 42%.

Weekly admissions for heart attack had approximately returned to the 2019 expected numbers by August 2020, but updated analyses now show that the numbers of these admissions are once again falling, suggesting that patients may be failing to receive the urgent care they need.

Updated results based on the latest data will be published on this website every month: updated analyses including admissions up to 15 November 2020.

Fig 1W overdispersed 29 Dec 2020

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