Grant Reed, MD: Increase in Stress Cardiomyopathy During COVID-19

July 13, 2020

A new Cleveland Clinic study is shedding light on an apparent increase in rates of stress cardiomyopathy during the ongoing pandemic.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has cast a spotlight on health care brighter than any previously seen in the 21st century.

Even among those who have not contracted the disease, the emphasis on care has never been greater. Along with this underscoring on the importance of care has come an exponential increase in stress for many.

Multiple studies have been released examining the impact this stress has had on people during the pandemic, from loss of sleep to increased anxiety. In a recent study from the Cleveland Clinics, a team of cardiologists found the rate of stress cardiomyopathy, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome, have increased 4-fold compared to pre-COVID-19 time periods.

“While the pandemic continues to evolve, self-care during this difficult time is critical to our heart health, and our overall health,” said senior investigator Grant Reed, MD, MSc, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s STEMI program, in a statement. “For those who feel overwhelmed by stress, it’s important to reach out to your healthcare provider. Exercise, meditation and connecting with family and friends, while maintaining physical distance and safety measures, can also help relieve anxiety.”

Comparing the rates of incidence during the COVID-19 period against 4 historical cohorts from before the COVID-19 outbreak, investigators calculated the rate ratio during the COVID-19 period to be 4.58 times greater than during the pre-COVID-19 time periods (RR, 4.58; 95% CI, 4.11-5.11; P <.001). Specifically, 7.8% of patients presenting acute coronary syndrome patients were diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy.

While there were no differences in mortality and 30-day rehospitalizations between patients with stress cardiomyopathy who presented during the COVID-19 pandemic and those in the historical cohorts. Investigators did point out patients hospitalized with stress cardiomyopathy had a longer median length of stay than those admitted during the pre-COVID-19 periods.

For more on the results of this study, Practical Cardiology™ invited Reed to take part in an interview diving deeper into the results of the current study and what the impact of this increase was in a real-world setting.

This study, “Incidence of Stress Cardiomyopathy During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic,” was published in JAMA Network Open.