Impact of COVID-19 on the imaging diagnosis of cardiac disease in Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives We aimed to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac diagnostic testing and practice and to assess its impact in different regions in Europe. Methods The online survey organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency Division of Human Health collected information on changes in cardiac imaging procedural volumes between March 2019 and March/April 2020. Data were collected from 909 centres in 108 countries. Results Centres in Northern and Southern Europe were more likely to cancel all outpatient activities compared with Western and Eastern Europe. There was a greater reduction in total procedure volumes in Europe compared with the rest of the world in March 2020 (45% vs 41%, p=0.003), with a more marked reduction in Southern Europe (58%), but by April 2020 this was similar in Europe and the rest of the world (69% vs 63%, p=0.261). Regional variations were apparent between imaging modalities, but the largest reductions were in Southern Europe for nearly all modalities. In March 2020, location in Southern Europe was the only independent predictor of the reduction in procedure volume. However, in April 2020, lower gross domestic product and higher COVID-19 deaths were the only independent predictors. Conclusion The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on care of patients with cardiac disease, with substantial regional variations in Europe. This has potential long-term implications for patients and plans are required to enable the diagnosis of non-COVID- 19 conditions during the ongoing pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001681
JournalOpen Heart
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 5 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Twitter Michelle Claire Williams @imagingmedsci and Chiara Bucciarelli-Ducci @ chiarabd Acknowledgements The INCAPS COVID Investigators Group, listed by name in the online supplemental information, thank cardiology and imaging professional societies worldwide for their assistance in disseminating the survey to their memberships. These include alphabetically, but are not limited to: American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Arab Society of Nuclear Medicine, Australasian Association of Nuclear Medicine Specialists, Australia-New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine, Belgian Society of Nuclear Medicine, Brazilian Nuclear Medicine Society, British Society of Cardiovascular Imaging, Conjoint Committee for the Recognition of Training in CT Coronary Angiography (Australia and New Zealand), Consortium of Universities and Institutions in Japan, Gruppo Italiano Cardiologia Nucleare, The Danish Society of Cardiology, Sociedad Española de Medicina Nuclear e Imagen Molecular, Indonesian Society of Nuclear Medicine, Japanese Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Philippine Society of Nuclear Medicine, Russian Society of Radiology, Moscow Regional Department of Russian Nuclear Medicine Society, Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, and Thailand Society of Nuclear Medicine. MCW (FS/ICRF/20/26002) is supported by the British Heart Foundation.

Funding Information:
Contributors The study was designed by AJE, MCW, LS, YP, NB, RC, SD, PR, TCV, JV, TNBP, MD and DP. Data were provided by members of the INCAPS COVID Investigators Group. Data were curated by YP, CH, EM, BG and MR. Statistical analysis was performed by MCW and CH. MCW drafted the manuscript. All authors reviewed and edited the manuscript. AJE is the guarantor of the study. Funding This study is supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Disclaimer The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research, or the Department of Health and Social Care. Map disclaimer The inclusion of any map (including the depiction of any boundaries therein), or of any geographic or locational reference, does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of BMJ concerning the legal status of any country, territory, jurisdiction or area or of its authorities. Any such expression remains solely that of the relevant source and is not endorsed by BMJ. Maps are provided without any warranty of any kind, either express or implied.

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021.


  • COVID-19
  • cardiac imaging techniques
  • coronary artery disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of COVID-19 on the imaging diagnosis of cardiac disease in Europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this