Impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on volume of thoracic aortic surgery on a national level

Hector W. L. de Beaufort*, Maaike M. Roefs, Edgar J. Daeter, R. H. Heijmen, S. Bramer, W. J. P. van Boven, A. B. A. Vonk, B. M. J. A. Koene, J. A. Bekkers, G. J. F. Hoohenkerk, A. L. P. Markou, A. de Weger, P. Segers, F. Porta, R. G. H. Speekenbrink, W. Stooker, W. W. L. Li, E. J. Daeter, N. P. van der Kaaij, Y. L. Douglas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the coronavirus 2019 pandemic on elective and acute thoracic aortic surgery in the Netherlands. METHODS: The Netherlands Heart Registration database was used to compare the volume of elective and acute surgery on the thoracic aorta in 2019 and 2020, starting from week 11 in both years. A sub-analysis was done to assess the impact of the pandemic on high-volume and low-volume aortic centres. RESULTS: During the pandemic, the number of elective thoracic aortic operations declined by 18% [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.82 [0.73-0.91]; P < 0.01]. The decline in volume of elective surgery was significant in both high-volume (IRR 0.82 [0.71-0.94]; P < 0.01) and low-volume aortic centres (IRR 0.81 [0.68-0.98]; P = 0.03). The overall number of acute aortic operations during the pandemic remained similar to that in 2019 (505 vs 499; P = 0.85), but an increased share of these operations occurred at high-volume centres. The number of acute operations performed in high-volume centres increased by 20% (IRR 1.20 [1.01-1.42]; P = 0.04), while the number of acute operations performed in low-volume centres decreased by 17% (IRR 0.83 [0.69-1.00]; P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: The coronavirus 2019 pandemic led to a significant decrease in elective thoracic aortic surgery but did not cause a change in the volume of acute thoracic aortic surgery in the Netherlands. Moreover, the pandemic led to a centralization of care for acute thoracic aortic surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-859
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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