Data Shows Reduction in U.S. Heart Attack Activations During COVID-19 Pandemic Published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology

April 23  


Microsoft Word – JACC STEMI DATA Announce 4.10.20 FINAL-1.docx

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) announced today the publication of a real-time data analysis pulled from its regional Level One STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or heart attack) program that includes data reported from nine participating U.S. STEMI Centers. The preliminary analysis during the COVID-19 pandemic shows a 38-percent reduction in U.S. cardiac catheterization laboratory STEMI activations, which are the standard-of-care treatment for patients with heart attacks. This finding is consistent with the reduction reported in Spain. The analysis was published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (

Given current potential environmental and emotional stressors, and a higher case of STEMI that is typically induced by viral illness, this is a departure from the increase in STEMI procedures that would have been expected. Potential rationale for the decrease in STEMI activations include:

  • Patients avoiding medical care due to social distancing or concerns of contracting COVID-19 in the hospital
  • STEMI misdiagnosis
  • Increased pharmacological reperfusion (use of medications to address the signs of STEMI in place of treating patients in the cath lab) “It is critical to understand if patient-based anxiety is leading to this decrease of patients seeking care for the signs and symptoms of a heart attack,” said Santiago Garcia, MD, interventional cardiologist and MHIF researcher. “While we are all concerned about COVID-19 exposure, patients also need to know that avoiding care and treatment could be dangerous for certain acute cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks. In these situations, timing is key and hospitals across the country are following careful procedures to keep patients safe from COVID- 19 exposure, while providing life-saving treatments for other cardiovascular conditions.” “While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact routines for people around the world, we remain dedicated to leading innovative cardiovascular research and education that is at the heart of the MHIF mission,” said Kristine Fortman, PhD, MHIF CEO. “Research is fundamental to solving the COVID-19 pandemic. MHIF researchers, together with our colleagues around the world, are working constantly to conquer this global health crisis,” said Scott Sharkey, MD, MHIF chief medical officer.

This publication follows an announcement MHIF made earlier in the week about serving as the international coordinating and data center for the North American COVID-19 ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction Registry (NACMI). For patients who are seeking treatment for STEMI and have or are suspected to have COVID-19 infection, the research study seeks to gather real-time data that can lead to important clinical insights to benefit patient care and outcomes. That registry is a collaborative effort between the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) and the Canadian Association of Interventional Cardiology (CAIC).

About Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation®

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF) strives to create a world without heart and vascular disease. To achieve this bold vision, it is dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of individuals and communities through innovative research and education.

Scientific Innovation and Research – MHIF is a recognized leader across all specialties of heart and vascular research. Each year, MHIF leads more than 200 research studies with more than 2,200 patients and publishes more than 200 articles to share learnings from research. MHIF research has improved the standard of care around the world through protocols like Level One for heart attack, which significantly improved outcomes and survival for patients.

Education and Outreach – MHIF provides more than 10,000 hours of education each year putting its research into practice to improve outcomes among health care providers. This commitment extends to patients and caregivers through a number of community health and education events to raise awareness of heart care and research, engaging individuals in their own health.

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s work is funded by generous donors and sponsors and engages in cutting-edge research initiatives with its physician partners from the Minneapolis Heart Institute® at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and at 38 community sites across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. For more information, please visit



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