COVID-19 and the Implications it has on Cardiology Patients
Written by John Steuter, MD
As each day goes by, we learn more about COVID-19 and the impact it has not only those infected by the virus but also the general public. All of the top health care organizations – World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), etc. – are encouraging people to practice social distancing and especially those who are considered high-risk to stay at home to reduce their chances of potential exposure to COVID-19.
When it comes to cardiology patients the implications and risks from COVID-19 are real. What we have encountered thus far is:
- Patients who have become infected with COVID-19 and have preexisting cardiovascular disease (CVD) are subject to an increased risk of severe disease and death.
- It is important for patients with CVD to remain current with vaccinations, including the pneumococcal vaccine given the increased risk of secondary bacterial infection with COVID-19; CVD patients should be vaccinated against influenza in accordance with current ACC/AHA guidelines.
- COVID-19 infection has been associated with multiple direct and indirect cardiovascular complications including acute myocardial injury, myocarditis, arrhythmias and venous thromboembolism.
While these two items are of vital importance, we should not overlook that the response to COVID-19 can compromise the rapid triage of non-COVID-19 patients with cardiovascular conditions.
What we don’t want to have happen is patients staying at home out of fear and not receiving the adequate attention needed for heart attacks, heart failure, and other urgent and emergent cardiac conditions. So how do we balance this fine line of keeping patients safe but also addressing urgent/emergent needs?
At Bryan Heart, we are changing and modifying the way we practice in these times to try and balance the risk of cardiac disease and COVID-19. We are currently offering our patients telephone visits, virtual/telehealth visits and when acuity dictates, an in-person visit to our office. We are here to serve you and your patients, so please do not hesitate to call 402-483-3333 with questions or concerns.
And remember, “To best serve your patients, protect yourself first!”
Driggin E, Madhavan MV, Bikdeli B, Chuich T, Laracy J, Bondi-Zoccai G, Brown TS, Nigoghossian CD, Zidar DA, Haythe J, Brodie D, Beckman JA, Kirtane AJ, Stone GW, Krumholz HM, Parikh SA, Cardiovascular Considerations for Patients, Health Care Workers, and Health Systems During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.03.031.
ACC Clinical Bulletin: COVID-19 Clinical Guidance for the Cardiovascular Care Team