The deferral of elective procedures due to Covid-19-related measures has negatively affected the cardiovascular medical devices market. While some cardiovascular procedures are considered urgent, others have been rescheduled and deferred since the beginning of the global pandemic. For example, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for an acute heart attack may be urgent, but a PCI for stable ischemic heart disease can be deferred, according to the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI). Lifestyle changes and medication can be temporarily prescribed instead of cardiovascular procedures for some patients.
Another factor negatively affecting the cardiovascular medical devices market is the reduction in the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases due to healthcare resources being reserved for Covid-19 patients. Since the beginning of the pandemic, regular check-ups and diagnostics have been postponed. Additionally, some people experiencing cardiovascular symptoms are staying away from hospitals and clinics due to fear of contracting Covid-19.
Many medical device companies have experienced losses in their cardiovascular devices business due to the pandemic. For example, Medtronic announced a 33% reduction in its cardiac and vascular business sector in its recent quarterly financial results.
In some cases, devices such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines have experienced an increase in demand, as they are being used to treat Covid-19 patients. Furthermore, there have been some reports of severely ill Covid-19 patients experiencing cardiovascular incidents, which must still be treated.
Chronic cardiovascular patients are at an increased risk of developing more severe Covid-19 symptoms. Therefore, it is essential that these patients are especially vigilant with social distancing protocols in order to reduce their chances of being infected. It remains to be seen how the deferral of cardiovascular procedures will affect patients’ future health. Most of the deferred cardiovascular procedures are expected to return with the lifting of Covid-19 related restrictions. However, patient backlog may limit this process.