The following is a summary of “Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the management of pulmonary hypertension,” published in the January 2023 issue of Pulmonology by Zhou, et al.
Healthcare delivery was hampered by the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19). Patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH), particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), required large resources for diagnosis and management and were at high risk for decompensation as a result of care interruption.
The 2020-2021 Pulmonary Vascular Disease (PVD) NetWork Steering Committee of the American College of Chest Physicians created a survey with 47 questions about the treatment of patients with PH and distributed it to all PVD NetWork members as well as the numerous other PH professional networks. It was optional and anonymous to participate. From November 2020 until February 2021, responses were gathered. The poll had 95 provider responses.
The majority (93%) thought that the epidemic had impacted how PH patients are cared for. Around 67% saw a decline in PH assessment referrals. Only 15% of PH patients were managed via telemedicine before the pandemic, compared to 84% during the epidemic. The majority of telemedicine (49%) was employed for the follow-up of chosen low-risk patients. About 11% of respondents were absolutely opposed to prescribing new PAH medication through telemedicine, compared to 22% who were fully in favor of it. Based on the sort of medication being provided, comfort levels varied. Over 90% of doctors reported difficulties getting tests, and 31% reported problems with the renewal or approval of prescriptions.
Overall, healthcare professionals believed that the COVID-19 epidemic seriously disrupted the way that PH patients were treated. The use of telemedicine grew but was primarily reserved for low-risk patients. Some healthcare professionals were less comfortable recommending PAH treatment during telemedicine consultations.