Telemedicine is a desirable option for healthcare in Saudi Arabia. The challenges of telemedicine in cardiovascular care in Saudi Arabia are not known. The COVID-19 pandemic offered an unprecedented opportunity to identify real-life challenges of telemedicine in Saudi Arabia. We sought to identify the challenges of telemedicine among patients with cardiovascular diseases using the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a cross-sectional survey-based study through a self-filled questionnaire. The questionnaire included demographic data, type of cardiovascular disease, and difficulties faced by the patients during the COVID-19 lockdown.
394 (60% male, mean age 51.4 ± 19.3 years) participated in the study. 30.3% had valve diseases, 26.4% had heart failure, and 24.1% had coronary artery disease. 45.6% reported difficulty with telemedicine during COVID-19 lockdown. Among those who have difficulties, almost half of the participants had difficulty with the cancellation of telemedicine appointments, and 15.5% had difficulty in getting medications.
Cancellation of telemedicine appointments and getting the medications were cardiovascular patients' main challenges during the COVID-19 lockdown. Telemedicine is a feasible option for the follow-up of chronic cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it should be implemented to increase the availability of specialized cardiovascular care over a wide geographical area.