A consensus statement from the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI) outlines recommendations for a systematic approach for the care of patients with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) remains the standard of care for patients with ST-segment elevation MI (STEMI) at PCI-capable hospitals when it can be provided in a timely fashion in a dedicated cardiac catheterization laboratory with an expert care team wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), the writing group advised.
“A fibrinolysis-based strategy may be entertained at non-PCI capable referral hospitals or in specific situations where primary PCI cannot be executed or is not deemed the best option,” they said.
SCAI President Ehtisham Mahmud, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, and the writing group also said that clinicians should recognize that cardiovascular manifestations of COVID-19 are “complex” in patients presenting with AMI, myocarditis simulating a STEMI, stress cardiomyopathy, nonischemic cardiomyopathy, coronary spasm, or nonspecific myocardial injury.
A “broad differential diagnosis for ST elevations (including COVID-associated myocarditis) should be considered in the ED prior to choosing a reperfusion strategy,” they advised.
In the absence of hemodynamic instability or ongoing ischemic symptoms, non-STEMI patients with known or suspected COVID-19 are best managed with an initial medical stabilization strategy, the group said.
They also said it is “imperative that health care workers use appropriate PPE for all invasive procedures during this pandemic” and that new rapid COVID-19 testing be “expeditiously” disseminated to all hospitals that manage patients with AMI.
Major challenges are that the prevalence of the COVID-19 in the United States remains unknown and there is the risk for asymptomatic spread.
The writing group said it’s “critical” to “inform the public that we can minimize exposure to the coronavirus so they can continue to call the Emergency Medical System (EMS) for acute ischemic heart disease symptoms and therefore get the appropriate level of cardiac care that their presentation warrants.”
This research had no commercial funding. Dr. Mahmud reported receiving clinical trial research support from Corindus, Abbott Vascular, and CSI; consulting with Medtronic; and consulting and equity with Abiomed. A complete list of author disclosures is included with the original article.
A version of this article originally appeared on Medscape.com.