Expert Tells Why Heart Patients Must Not Delay Treatment In Fear Of Coronavirus
A recent survey reveals that around half of people with heart and circulatory diseases have found it harder to get medical treatment since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Timely treatment is important for heart patients, despite COVID-19 outbreak
- Coronavirus can affect the heart in previously healthy individuals also
- It can cause inflammatory responses in the body that affect arteries
- This may can increase risk of heart attacks and strokes
The scourge of COVID-19 has hardly left anyone unimpacted. Patients with comorbid conditions have been the greatest victims. The patients already suffering from cardiovascular diseases CVDs have undergone hard times as they were unable to visit hospitals due to lockdown restrictions when they required the cardiologist for their treatment the most.
A recent survey reveals that around half of people with heart and circulatory diseases have found it harder to get medical treatment since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Not only this, but almost a third had also found it harder to get the medicines they needed for conditions such as congenital heart disease, heart rhythm problems, previous heart attack or stroke. This statistics doesn't stop here, there are more such instances which together make a case study that to what extent the heart patients have suffered during COVID-19 times.
A study commissioned by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has brought to light that difficulties in accessing treatment and care could have a damaging impact on people's health, and even result in an increase in deaths. The study also found that heart patients who found it more difficult to access medical treatment from a healthcare professional during the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled their surgery. Among them, 41% had a planned test, surgery, or procedure postponed or cancelled; 48% reported that a lack of available face-to-face appointments was a reason behind the cancellation.
The study further reveals that around 28,000 planned inpatient heart procedures have been deferred in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in England alone. If hospital investigations and procedures are delayed too long, it can result in preventable permanent long-term complications, such as heart failure. The lengthening curve of COVID-19 has really brought challenges in the lives of the people suffereing from cardiac disorders.
In the other side of the story, we get contrasting observations - on one hand, the number of acute heart attack cases being admitted to hospital have decreased; on the other hand, a sharp rise in deaths at home due to cardiac arrest has been observed. So what might be the probable reasons - it could be both - either deliberate delay or delay due to COVID-19 restrictions. There is no denying that fact that COVID-19 has possessed a greater risk to people who have underlying conditions such as Coronary heart disease, Diabetes, High blood pressure and Previous stroke.
However, the gravity of the situation can be realised by understanding that this observation has led to several national medical organizations like ICMR formulating and issuing treatment protocols for managing cardiac cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing scenario of the heart patients brings one message loud and clear that heart patient mustn't delay or postpone any treatment due to undue fears over COVID-19 if the need arises. They should realize the fact that only the timely intervention can save their lives.
(Dr Sameer Gupta, Director - Interventional Cardiology, Metro Hospital and Heart Institute)
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