Where have all the heart attacks gone?

During this lockdown the hospitals have been flooded with people suffering with Covid-19

The dirty secret is that no one else seems to be coming to hospital. The non – Covid bit of the emergency department and the non-Covid part of the hospital is fairly empty.

Hospital bed occupancy has never been lower in memory. Very few surgical beds are being used as planned surgery has been cancelled.

The strange thing is that the things we would expect to see happening like heart attacks and strokes have also dropped.

This is a worldwide phenomenon not just confined to the U.K.

The question is why? Nobody really knows. Of course there can only be two explanations.

Firstly people are still having heart attacks but not coming to hospital. This is a little scarey as it suggests we will see more people with complications of heart attacks such as heart failure.

The other possibility is that there are in fact fewer people experiencing heart attacks!

This would be fantastic if it were true.

But why could it be true?

Well social distancing is having an effect on Corona virus transmission; it’s probably affecting all the other viruses we get too. We know that infections can trigger heart attacks so it’s possible fewer infections mean fewer heart attacks

I’ve also noticed on my cycle to work is that there are a lot of people out there exercising. I wonder if there’s more exercise that’s having an effect.

Maybe more home cooking is having an effect too?

Maybe people are sleeping more, are less stressed, or spending more time with your family at home are all protective?

It’s impossible to say at the moment but I’m sure we will learn a lot about this phenomenon in the months to come and hopefully if we can take the lessons this pandemic will have resulted in something good


2 thoughts on “Where have all the heart attacks gone?

    1. Thanks John. I’m hoping it stays that way. Certainly the last week covering the inpatient service has been a little quieter than usual on the heart attack front, but I hear normality is coming back this week!

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