The emergency situation in Italy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the way of treating patients requiring cardiac surgery. The Lombardy regional government recently introduced new rules on how to reorganize hospitals by creating 4 hubs for adult and 1 for paediatric cardiac surgery, which will handle all emergency/urgent cases (∼150–200 cases/month). This situation has never happened before in the modern era and obviously represents a challenge in terms of rapidity and effectiveness of the actions needed.
As far as human resources are concerned, most of the cardiac surgeons not working in the hub centres have been part of multidisciplinary teams caring for patients affected by COVID-19 in internal medicine and ICUs. Of course, being admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 patients significantly increases the risk of becoming infected, especially for patients with cardiovascular disease. However, patients with cardiac emergencies/urgencies deserve to be treated. So far, only a few papers have been published on the COVID-19 pandemic, and even fewer have been published on the challenges of restructuring the medical care system under these emergency conditions.
Herein, we briefly summarize how, for the first time in Europe since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the entire cardiac surgery system in the North Italian region of Lombardy was modified to deal with this emergency.
Belluschi I, De Bonis M, Alfieri O, Del Forno B, Alamanni F, Polvani G, Pompilio G, Roberto M, Merlino LG, Troise G, Triboldi A, Di Credico G, Odinolfi FE, Giamberti A, Frigiola A, De Vincentiis C, Menicanti L, Monaco F, Melisurgo G, Scandroglio AM, Ambrosio A, Bottinelli E, Castiglioni A. First reorganization in Europe of a regional cardiac surgery system to deal with the coronavirus-2019 pandemic. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2020 May 21;ezaa185. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezaa185