Cardiac surgery in North America and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Regional variability in burden and impact

COVID-19 North American Cardiac Surgery Survey Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in an increase in hospital resource utilization and the need to defer nonurgent cardiac surgery procedures. The present study aims to report the regional variations of North American adult cardiac surgical case volume and case mix through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A survey was sent to recruit participating adult cardiac surgery centers in North America. Data in regard to changes in institutional and regional cardiac surgical case volume and mix were analyzed. Results: Our study comprises 67 adult cardiac surgery institutions with diverse geographic distribution across North America, representing annualized case volumes of 60,452 in 2019. Nonurgent surgery was stopped during the month of March 2020 in the majority of centers (96%), resulting in a decline to 45% of baseline with significant regional variation. Hospitals with a high burden of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 demonstrated similar trends of decline in total volume as centers in low burden areas. As a proportion of total surgical volume, there was a relative increase of coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (high +7.2% vs low +4.2%, P = .550), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (high +2.5% vs low 0.4%, P = .328), and heart transplantation (high +2.7% vs low 0.4%, P = .090), and decline in valvular cases (high –7.6% vs low –2.6%, P = .195). Conclusions: The present study demonstrates the impact of COVID-19 on North American cardiac surgery institutions as well as helps associate region and COVID-19 burden with the impact on cardiac surgery volumes and case mix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-903.e4
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • COVID-19
  • cardiac surgery
  • cardiovascular surgery
  • case volume
  • coronavirus disease 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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