CVD and COVID-19: Noticing the warning signs and preparing for action
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on cardiovascular disease (CVD). It diverted the resources away from CVD care, had an exacerbated impact on existing CVD patients, and increased the risk of CVD in both the short- and long-term following infection.1 Daiichi Sankyo Europe (DSE) partnered with Economist Impact to identify areas where improvements could be made to address the growing needs of the CVD community.
COVID-19 will likely be remembered as one of the most significant health crises in the 21st century. Whilst it is no longer strongly affecting our day-to-day lives, we are beginning to see the true impact it has had on other diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD).
It is increasingly clear that experiencing CVD and COVID-19 together has an increased negative effect.2 Among those who develop COVID-19, people with CVD are up to 3.9 times more likely to experience severe symptoms, and are up to 2.7 times more likely to lose their lives than their peers without CVD.2 As research has demonstrated various measures that were taken to fight the pandemic, along with the impact of COVID-19 itself, are likely to jeopardize CVD care and could increase the burden of CVD in the coming years.
The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic saw health systems diverting resources in order to accommodate the drastic influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients.1 Whilst essential, this redistribution of resources meant that CVD, the most serious non-communicable diseases in Europe, was largely put on the backburner, delaying access to essential care for many.1 We also saw a significant drop in the number of people seeking medical advice for CVD symptoms due to fear of infection at GP surgeries or hospitals, or fear of overwhelming a health system.1
While the indirect impact of pandemic responses created impediments to the diagnosis and treatment of CVD and related risks, the direct impact from COVID-19 goes even deeper. Research has shown that existing CVD patients infected with COVID-19 possess a greater risk of hospitalization; those hospitalized with COVID-19 experience a greater rate of major CVD events; and certain common manifestations of long COVID increase the risk of CVD.1 Survivors of COVID-19 also have an elevated probability of developing various forms of CVD and experiencing related serious health problems.1
To deepen our understanding of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the CVD landscape and identify areas where improvements could be made to address the growing needs of the CVD community in the future, we partnered with Economist Impact to develop a white paper (May 2022).
By accumulating data from France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the UK, and engaging in discussions with experts in cardiology, neurology and public health, the report builds on the available evidence to consider the fundamental steps that health systems should consider taking to address this growing health risk:1
- Better strategy – COVID-19 has prompted many countries and officials to focus planning around communicable diseases (an illness due to the transmission of a specific infectious agent e.g. HIV and meningitis), with non-communicable disease such as CVD being placed on the backburner.3 Healthcare systems should implement better strategies for improving CVD care, as well as considering how they can maintain existing functions in the event of another pandemic
- Better information – Understanding around the long-term impact of COVID-19 infection remains poor and officials should conduct further research to build a better picture that can inform effective policies
- Better tactics – We must recognise that necessity is the mother of invention and healthcare systems need to review and identify which of the temporary tactics put in place over the pandemic were successful and worth persisting with, e.g. remote consultations and at-home rehabilitation
The impact of COVID-19 on CVD is clear and Daiichi Sankyo Europe (DSE) is focused on supporting the clinical community and healthcare ecosystems across Europe today to inspire and support better cardiovascular care.
Click here to view the full report published by Economist Impact: https://impact.economist.com/perspectives/sites/default/files/ei_cvd_and_covid_report_final_may_2022.pdf