The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac surgery in Israel

Eitan Keizman*, Eilon Ram, Erez Kachel, Leonid Sternik, Ehud Raanani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Ever since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a pandemic, worldwide efforts are being made to "flatten the curve". Israel was amongst the first countries to impose significant restrictions. As a result, cardiac surgeons have been required to scale down their routine practice, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of cardiac surgeries. The aim of this study is to characterize the impact of COVID-19 on cardiac surgery in Israel. Methods: This is a retrospective observational study performed in two cardiac surgery departments in Israel and includes all patients who underwent cardiac surgery in March and April during the years 2019 and 2020. The patient cohort was divided into two groups based on the year of operation. Analysis of the patients' baseline characteristics, operative data, and postoperative outcome, was performed. Results: The 2019 group (n = 173), and the 2020 group (n = 108) were similar regarding their baseline characteristics, previous medical history, and rates of previous revascularization interventions. However, compared to the 2019 group, patients in the 2020 group were found to be more symptomatic (NYHA class IV; 2.4% vs. 6.2%, p = 0.007). While all patients underwent similar procedures, patients in the 2020 group had significantly longer procedural time (p < 0.001). In-hospital mortality rate was found to be significantly higher in group 2020 (13% vs. 5.2%, p = 0.037). Conclusions: While the number of patients undergoing cardiac surgery declined during the outbreak period, the rate of surgical mortality increased. One explanation for this might be delayed hospital arrival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number294
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Cardiac surgery


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