Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Cardiovascular Testing in Asia: The IAEA INCAPS-COVID Study

INCAPS COVID Investigators Group, Takashi Kudo*, Ryan Lahey, Cole B. Hirschfeld, Michelle C. Williams, Bin Lu, Mirvat Alasnag, Mona Bhatia, Hee Seung Henry Bom, Tairkhan Dautov, Reza Fazel, Ganesan Karthikeyan, Felix Y.J. Keng, Ronen Rubinshtein, Nathan Better, Rodrigo Cerci, Sharmila Dorbala, Paolo Raggi, Leslee J. Shaw, Todd C. VillinesJoão V. Vitola, Andrew Choi, Eli Malkovskiy, Benjamin Goebel, Yosef Cohen, Michael Randazzo, Thomas N.B. Pascual, Yaroslav Pynda, Maurizio Dondi, Diana Paez, Andrew J. Einstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic significantly affected management of cardiovascular disease around the world. The effect of the pandemic on volume of cardiovascular diagnostic procedures is not known. Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the effects of the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular diagnostic procedures and safety practices in Asia. Methods: The International Atomic Energy Agency conducted a worldwide survey to assess changes in cardiovascular procedure volume and safety practices caused by COVID-19. Testing volumes were reported for March 2020 and April 2020 and were compared to those from March 2019. Data from 180 centers across 33 Asian countries were grouped into 4 subregions for comparison. Results: Procedure volumes decreased by 47% from March 2019 to March 2020, showing recovery from March 2020 to April 2020 in Eastern Asia, particularly in China. The majority of centers cancelled outpatient activities and increased time per study. Practice changes included implementing physical distancing and restricting visitors. Although COVID testing was not commonly performed, it was conducted in one-third of facilities in Eastern Asia. The most severe reductions in procedure volumes were observed in lower-income countries, where volumes decreased 81% from March 2019 to April 2020. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic in Asia caused significant reductions in cardiovascular diagnostic procedures, particularly in low-income countries. Further studies on effects of COVID-19 on cardiovascular outcomes and changes in care delivery are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-199
Number of pages13
JournalJACC: Asia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2021


  • cardiac testing
  • cardiovascular disease
  • coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • global health


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