A pandemic mystery solved: What happened to all the heart attacks?

A new study from Stauffer and several Denver Health colleagues offers the first clue to the answer in Colorado. Looking at data on ambulance calls in Denver, they found that, while overall calls for service went down during the stay-at-home period, the number of people dying from cardiac arrests at home shot up.

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Stauffer’s team found that cardiac arrests at home in Denver more than doubled in the two weeks after the statewide stay-at-home order was issued compared with historical averages. Even compared with more recent data, the weekly average of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests jumped to 46 during those two weeks, versus 26 or 27 in the three months prior.

Stauffer and his colleagues found that the number of people in Denver who died of cardiac arrests at home in the two weeks following the statewide stay-at-home order was greater than the total number of people who died of COVID-19 in the city during that time.

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