BACKGROUND: Public health emergencies may significantly impact emergency medical services responses to cardiovascular emergencies. We compared emergency medical services responses to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and ST-segment‒ elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to 2018 to 2019 and evaluated the impact of California’s March 19, 2020 stay-at-home order. METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study using Los Angeles County emergency medical services registry data for adult patients with paramedic provider impression (PI) of OHCA or STEMI from February through May in 2018 to 2020. After March 19, 2020, weekly counts for PI-OHCA were higher (173 versus 135; incidence rate ratios, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.19‒1.37; P<0.001) while PI-STEMI were lower (57 versus 65; incidence rate ratios, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.78‒0.97; P=0.02) compared with 2018 and 2019. After adjusting for seasonal variation in PI-OHCA and decreased PI-STEMI, the increase in PI-OHCA observed after March 19, 2020 remained significant (P=0.02). The proportion of PI-OHCA who received defibrillation (16% versus 23%; risk difference [RD], −6.91%; 95% CI, −9.55% to −4.26%; P<0.001) and had return of spontaneous circulation (17% versus 29%; RD, −11.98%; 95% CI, −14.76% to −9.18%; P<0.001) were lower after March 19 in 2020 compared with 2018 and 2019. There was also a significant increase in dead on arrival emergency medical services responses in 2020 compared with 2018 and 2019, starting around the time of the stay-at-home order (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Paramedics in Los Angeles County, CA responded to increased PI-OHCA and decreased PI-STEMI following the stay-at-home order. The increased PI-OHCA was not fully explained by the reduction in PI-STEMI. Field defibrillation and return of spontaneous circulation were lower. It is critical that public health messaging stress that emergency care should not be delayed.
- Cardiac arrest
- Emergency medical services
- Myocardial infarction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine