Here are the stories our MDedge editors across specialties think you need to know about today:
Pregnant women at higher risk for severe COVID-19
Pregnant women may be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, according to a report published online June 26 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Among reproductive-aged women (15-44 years) infected with SARS-CoV-2, pregnancy was associated with a greater likelihood of hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), and mechanical ventilation, but not death. Pregnant women were 5.4 times more likely to be hospitalized, 1.5 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU, and 1.7 times more likely to need mechanical ventilation, after adjustment for age, underlying conditions, and race/ethnicity.
CDC researchers said that preventing COVID-19 infection in pregnant women should be a priority and any potential barriers to compliance with preventive measures need to be removed.
Going out of business: Primary care practices at risk
In a recently published editorial, Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, argued that primary care is in deep trouble, its long-standing financial problems exacerbated by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, a family physician, Dr. Frieden discussed the future of primary care.
Here is a sample of Dr. Frieden’s observations:
“When I’ve looked around the United States, I’ve been extremely concerned about both the risk that primary care practitioners are subjected to in their everyday practice and the economic risk that we could lose many of our primary care practices around the country. It’s really striking to see that the number of visits has plummeted. Because of our payment structure, that means incomes have plummeted. We’re hearing about doctors’ offices getting boarded up and shuttering. As I write in the piece, it’s one thing for a theater or a restaurant or another important community entity to shut because of economic downturn, and these are real losses, but to lose their only primary care practice or one of the few in an area really is a matter of life and death for many communities.” Read more.
Surge in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests
The COVID-19 pandemic in New York City led to a surge in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that placed a huge burden on first responders, according to a new analysis.
During the height of the pandemic in New York, there was a “dramatic increase in cardiopulmonary arrests, nearly all presented in non-shockable cardiac rhythms (> 90% fatality rate) and vulnerable patient populations were most affected,” David J. Prezant, MD, chief medical officer, Fire Department of New York (FDNY), said in an interview.
In a news release, Dr. Prezant noted that “relatively few, if any, patients were tested to confirm the presence of COVID-19,” making it impossible to distinguish between cardiac arrests as a result of COVID-19 and those that may have resulted from other health conditions.
“We also can’t rule out the possibility that some people may have died from delays in seeking or receiving treatment for non–COVID-19-related conditions. However, the dramatic increase in cardiac arrests compared to the same period in 2019 strongly indicates that the pandemic was directly or indirectly responsible for that surge in cardiac arrests and deaths,” said Dr. Prezant.
The study was published online June 19 in JAMA Cardiology.