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The adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular disease prevention and management in England, Scotland and Wales: A population-scale descriptive analysis of trends in medication data

The aim was to estimate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD management using routinely collected medication data as a proxy. Using descriptive and interrupted time series analysis using anonymised individual-level population-scale data for 1.32 billion records of dispensed CVD medications across 15.8 million individuals in England, Scotland and Wales. Setting: Community dispensed CVD medications with 100% coverage from England, Scotland and Wales, plus primary care prescribed CVD medications from England (including 98% English general practices). Participants that took part included, 15.8 million individuals aged 18+ years alive on 1st April 2018 dispensed at least one CVD medicine in a year from England, Scotland and Wales. Main outcome measures: Monthly counts, percent annual change (1st April 2018 to 31st July 2021) and annual rates (1st March 2018 to 28th February 2021) of medicines dispensed by CVD/ CVD risk factor; prevalent and incident use. To conclude, management of key CVD risk factors as proxied by incident use of CVD medicines has not returned to pre-pandemic levels in the UK. Novel methods to identify and treat individuals who have missed treatment are urgently required to avoid large numbers of additional future CVD events, further adding indirect cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original content: Health Data Research Innovation Gateway