Google Trends Insights into Reduced Acute Coronary Syndrome Admissions during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Infodemiology Study

Conor Senecal, Rajiv Gulati, Amir Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: During the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a reduction in the presentation of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) has been noted in several countries. However, whether these trends reflect a reduction in ACS incidence or a decrease in emergency room visits is unknown. Using Google Trends, queries for chest pain that have previously been shown to closely correlate with coronary heart disease were compared with searches for myocardial infarction and COVID-19 symptoms. Objective: The current study evaluates if search terms (or topics) pertaining to chest pain symptoms correlate with the reported decrease in presentations of ACS. Methods: Google Trends data for search terms "chest pain," "myocardial infarction,cough," and "fever" were obtained from June 1, 2019, to May 31, 2020. Related queries were evaluated for a relationship to coronary heart disease. Results: Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, chest pain searches increased in all countries studied by at least 34% (USA P=.003, Spain P=.007, UK P=.001, Italy P=.002), while searches for myocardial infarction dropped or remained unchanged. Rising searches for chest pain included "coronavirus chest pain," "home remedies for chest pain," and "natural remedies for chestpain." Searches on COVID-19 symptoms (eg, cough, fever) rose initially but returned to baseline while chest paina-related searches remained elevated throughout May. Conclusions: Search engine queries for chest pain have risen during the pandemic as have related searches with alternative attribution for chest pain or home care for chest pain, suggesting that recent drops in ACS presentations may be due to patients avoiding the emergency room and potential treatment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20426
JournalJMIR Cardio
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Google Trends
  • acute coronary syndrome
  • cardiovascular
  • coronary heart disease
  • heart
  • internet
  • online search
  • trend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics

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