Delaying cardiovascular surgeries due to COVID-19 has serious psychological effects on patients, study finds

Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

“And then the coronavirus hit. Everything came to a stop. I couldn’t have my surgery.” -- Sophia (a pseudonym), 56

Newswise — In March 2020, when the pandemic hit, everything slowed, including non-essential medical procedures such as elective surgeries, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Six weeks later, Mary Byrnes, Ph.D., an assistant research scientist in the Department of Surgery at Michigan Medicine, began calling Frankel Cardiovascular Center patients whose surgeries had been canceled or delayed. She wanted to hear about their experiences — what undergoing surgery meant to them, how postponing their operations had affected them, whether the existence of the coronavirus complicated how they felt about their bodies and about surgery.

Over the next 10 days, she heard stories of fear: “I’m literally afraid to have my surgery now, and I’m just going day by day on prayer and hoping...that I don’t have anything fatal attack my system.”

And suffering: “This last week... I’ve just been struggling. And I...I don’t know if it’s more symptoms or anxiety or whatever, but...I’m just ready to get this behind me and hopefully live a better life.”

As well as altruism: “As much as I want it done, those nurses are overwhelmed right now. They don’t need another person in there. Let’s hope this starts calming down, and they get a breather before... people are coming in for surgery.”

Collectively, the 47 interviews Byrnes conducted — compiled for a study recently published in Medical Care — illustrate the profound impact of postponing cardiovascular surgeries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s been other work coming out that said patients don’t really care about delaying their surgeries,” says Byrnes, the first author of the study. “But the heart is a different type of organ that has a lot of emotions wrapped around it. It’s literary even.”

“And even though these were elective surgeries,” she adds, “they were serious operations where people were literally having their chests cracked open, and so there was a lot of mental preparation to confront that in the first place. Ultimately, they viewed surgery as a cure, so the unknowing about whether it would happen was problematic for them.”

Despite all the uncertainty, many patients preferred to wait to undergo surgery in an effort to avoid catching COVID-19. Some thought they were likely to die of their cardiovascular conditions before their operations could take place, yet they favored passing away of “the devil they knew” over “the devil they didn’t,” says Byrnes.

In the past year, more Americans have died than would be expected, even when accounting for those who have passed away from COVID-19 or related complications. One of the driving factors may be certain cardiovascular conditions, namely ischemic heart disease — when narrowed coronary arteries cause heart problems — and illness related to high blood pressure. States that experienced COVID-19 surges early in the pandemic, including New York and Michigan, also saw a spike in deaths linked to these issues, potentially because patients avoided health care during those periods.

“Patients are suffering even though we don’t see them,” Byrnes says. “We have to think about our policies and how we talk to patients in terms of the fact that they think they’re going to die — and they might.”

As Michigan Medicine and other local health systems begin to delay a small number of surgeries again, thanks to the latest COVID-19 surge in Michigan, this study’s findings can inform the decisions hospital leadership makes and create an opportunity for additional communication with and support for cardiovascular patients.

“We need to be upfront and accessible,” says Nicholas H. Osborne, M.D., the associate program director of vascular surgery at Michigan Medicine and the last author of the study. “Cancellations should be communicated directly to patients, and surgeons should be available to talk with patients to reassure them.”

“As a healthcare system, we may also need to design and implement interventions, such as support systems or social work resources, to minimize the impact these delays have on the well-being of our patients,” says Craig Brown, M.D., M.S., a general surgery resident at Michigan Medicine and an additional author of the study. “It is not simply an inconvenience to many of them, but rather has dramatic consequences and substantial psychological impacts on their wellbeing.”

Additional authors included Ana C. De Roo, M.D., M.S., Matthew A. Corriere, M.D., M.S., Matthew A. Romano, M.D., Shinichi Fukuhara, M.D., and Karen M. Kim, M.D. Byrnes, Corriere, and Osborne are all members of the Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy. Brown and De Roo are CHOP fellows.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5584
Released: 7-May-2021 1:40 PM EDT
There is no evidence that vaccines could cause harm to people who have recovered from COVID-19
Newswise

An article published by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s anti-vaccination organization and widely shared on social media questions the need of vaccinating those who’ve already recovered from COVID-19. The article says there’s a "potential risk of harm, including death" in getting the vaccines. We report this claim as false. There is no evidence that vaccinating people who had previously had COVID is resulting in an increased risk of adverse events.

Newswise: Abbott.jpg
Released: 7-May-2021 1:00 PM EDT
FSU expert available to discuss intellectual property and COVID-19 vaccines
Florida State University

By: Bill Wellock | Published: May 7, 2021 | 11:55 am | SHARE: President Joe Biden has expressed his support for a World Trade Organization proposal to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines.Florida State University law professor Frederick Abbott, the Edward Ball Eminent Scholar Professor of International Law, is available to comment on international intellectual property rights and global economic issues around the proposal.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 11-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 7-May-2021 1:00 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 11-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 7-May-2021 11:15 AM EDT
Asthma attacks plummeted among Black and hispanic/latinx individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Asthma attacks account for almost 50 percent of the cost of asthma care which totals $80 billion each year in the United States

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 11-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 7-May-2021 10:40 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 11-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 7-May-2021 9:00 AM EDT
Navigating the COVID-19 crisis to prevent pressure injuries: Learning health system helped one hospital adapt and update care in real time
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare systems scrambled to modify patient care processes – particularly when it came to strategies aimed at reducing the risk of hospital-related complications. A look at how one hospital applied its learning health system (LHS) framework to respond to a COVID-19-related increase in hospital-acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs) is presented in the May/June Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ), the peer-reviewed journal of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Newswise: Ultra-Fast COVID-19 Sensor Invented at Texas Tech Gets Boost Into International Markets
Released: 7-May-2021 8:55 AM EDT
Ultra-Fast COVID-19 Sensor Invented at Texas Tech Gets Boost Into International Markets
Texas Tech University

EviroTech LLC announced today (May 7) a $4 million investment into the company by 1701 Ventures GmbH of Göttingen, Germany, which will allow EviroTech to complete the final design, production startup and market introduction of its Ultra-Fast COVID-19 detection sensor.

Released: 7-May-2021 7:05 AM EDT
Rutgers Recruiting Participants for Pfizer COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Clinical Trial
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Rutgers has been selected as a clinical trial site for the global Pfizer-BioNTech research study to evaluate the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 6 months to 11 years. This is the third time Rutgers has served as a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial site for pharmaceutical companies. Last fall, it conducted trials for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.


Showing results

110 of 5584

close
1.11122