The day after tomorrow: cardiac surgery and coronavirus disease-2019

COVID-SICCH Task Force of the Italian Society for Cardiac Surgery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impact of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced the governments worldwide to deal with an unprecedented health crisis. The aim of this review is to summarize what happened to cardiac surgery worldwide during the first wave of this pandemic. A literature search was performed to extrapolate key concepts regarding guidelines and reorganization of cardiac surgery wards during COVID-19. Supporting literature was also included to discuss the hot topics related to COVID-19 and cardiac surgery. Hence, both official documents from national scientific societies and single- or multiple-center experiences during the pandemics are reviewed and discussed. In Italy, the first western country hit by the pandemic, two different models were proposed to cope with the need for ICU/ward beds and to reallocate cardiac surgical services: Hub-and-Spoke system ('Hubs', dedicated to perform urgent and nondeferrable surgery, and 'Spokes', turned into COVID centers) and/or a progressive reduction in surgical activity. Worldwide, several guidelines/consensus statements were published, suggesting how to deal with the outbreak. Two different approaches for stratifying surgical indications were proposed: dynamic, based on the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients; static, based only on the severity of the cardiovascular disease. Moreover, the importance of personal protective equipment was stressed. Several measures should have been adopted to deal with an unprecedented need for healthcare resources allocation to care for COVID-19 patients, putting the healthcare systems under serious stress. Cardiac surgery has, as have most surgical activities, been asked to reduce its own activity, giving priority to emergency and nondeferrable cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiovascular medicine (Hagerstown, Md.)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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