An increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) incidence has been reported in the very early phase of the COVID-19 epidemic, but a clear demonstration of a correlation between the increased incidence of OHCA and COVID-19 is missing so far. We aimed to verify whether there is an association between the OHCA difference compared with 2019 and the COVID-19 epidemic curve.
METHODS AND RESULTS
We included all the consecutive OHCAs which occurred in the Provinces of Lodi, Cremona, Pavia, and Mantova in the 2 months following the first documented case of COVID-19 in the Lombardia Region and compared them with those which occurred in the same time frame in 2019. The cumulative incidence of COVID-19 from 21 February to 20 April 2020 in the study territory was 956 COVID-19/100 000 inhabitants and the cumulative incidence of OHCA was 21 cases/100 000 inhabitants, with a 52% increase as compared with 2019 (490 OHCAs in 2020 vs. 321 in 2019). A strong and statistically significant correlation was found between the difference in cumulative incidence of OHCA between 2020 and 2019 per 100 000 inhabitants and the COVID-19 cumulative incidence per 100 000 inhabitants both for the overall territory (ρ 0.87, P < 0.001) and for each province separately (Lodi: ρ 0.98, P < 0.001; Cremona: ρ 0.98, P < 0.001; Pavia: ρ 0.87, P < 0.001; Mantova: ρ 0.81, P < 0.001).
The increase in OHCAs in 2020 is significantly correlated to the COVID-19 pandemic and is coupled with a reduction in short-term outcome. Government and local health authorities should seriously consider our results when planning healthcare strategies to face the epidemic, especially considering the expected recurrent outbreaks.