Background: Cardiology divisions reshaped their activities during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This study aimed to analyze the organization of echocardiographic laboratories and echocardiography practice during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, and the expectations for the post-COVID era. Methods: We analyzed two different time periods: the month of November during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) and the identical month during 2019 (November 2019). Results: During the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital activity was partially reduced in 42 (60%) and wholly interrupted in 3 (4%) echocardiographic laboratories, whereas outpatient echocardiographic activity was partially reduced in 41 (59%) and completely interrupted in 7 (10%) laboratories. We observed an important change in the organization of activities in the echocardiography laboratory which reduced the operator-risk and improved self-protection of operators by using appropriate personal protection equipment. Operators wore FFP2 in 58 centers (83%) during trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE), in 65 centers (93%) during transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and 63 centers (90%) during stress echocardiography. The second wave caused a significant reduction in number of echocardiographic exams, compared to November 2019 (from 513 +/- 539 to 341 +/- 299 exams per center, -34%, p < 0.001). On average, there was a significant increase in the outpatient waiting list for elective echocardiographic exams (from 32.0 +/- 28.1 to 45.5 +/- 44.9 days, +41%, p < 0.001), with a reduction of in-hospital waiting list (2.9 +/- 2.4 to 2.4 +/- 2.0 days, -17%, p < 0.001). We observed a large diffusion of point-of-care cardiac ultrasound (88%), with a significant increase of lung ultrasound usage in 30 centers (43%) during 2019, extended to all centers in 2020. Carbon dioxide production by examination is an indicator of the environmental impact of technology (100-fold less with echocardiography compared to other cardiac imaging techniques). It was ignored in 2019 by 100% of centers, and currently it is considered potentially crucial for decision-making in cardiac imaging by 65 centers (93%). Conclusions: In one year, major changes occurred in echocardiography practice and culture. The examination structure changed with extensive usage of point-of-care cardiac ultrasound and with lung ultrasound embedded by default in the TTE examination, as well as the COVID-19 testing.

Reshaping of Italian Echocardiographic Laboratories Activities during the Second Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic and Expectations for the Post-Pandemic Era

Severino, Sergio;Carerj, Scipione;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Background: Cardiology divisions reshaped their activities during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This study aimed to analyze the organization of echocardiographic laboratories and echocardiography practice during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, and the expectations for the post-COVID era. Methods: We analyzed two different time periods: the month of November during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) and the identical month during 2019 (November 2019). Results: During the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital activity was partially reduced in 42 (60%) and wholly interrupted in 3 (4%) echocardiographic laboratories, whereas outpatient echocardiographic activity was partially reduced in 41 (59%) and completely interrupted in 7 (10%) laboratories. We observed an important change in the organization of activities in the echocardiography laboratory which reduced the operator-risk and improved self-protection of operators by using appropriate personal protection equipment. Operators wore FFP2 in 58 centers (83%) during trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE), in 65 centers (93%) during transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and 63 centers (90%) during stress echocardiography. The second wave caused a significant reduction in number of echocardiographic exams, compared to November 2019 (from 513 +/- 539 to 341 +/- 299 exams per center, -34%, p < 0.001). On average, there was a significant increase in the outpatient waiting list for elective echocardiographic exams (from 32.0 +/- 28.1 to 45.5 +/- 44.9 days, +41%, p < 0.001), with a reduction of in-hospital waiting list (2.9 +/- 2.4 to 2.4 +/- 2.0 days, -17%, p < 0.001). We observed a large diffusion of point-of-care cardiac ultrasound (88%), with a significant increase of lung ultrasound usage in 30 centers (43%) during 2019, extended to all centers in 2020. Carbon dioxide production by examination is an indicator of the environmental impact of technology (100-fold less with echocardiography compared to other cardiac imaging techniques). It was ignored in 2019 by 100% of centers, and currently it is considered potentially crucial for decision-making in cardiac imaging by 65 centers (93%). Conclusions: In one year, major changes occurred in echocardiography practice and culture. The examination structure changed with extensive usage of point-of-care cardiac ultrasound and with lung ultrasound embedded by default in the TTE examination, as well as the COVID-19 testing.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3247041
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