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Cardiac Disease and COVID-19

April 21, 2020
Published in: COVID-19, Heart

Woman pushing on her chest with her palm

Most of the attention about morbidity and mortality associated with the COVID infection has focused on lung issues, respiratory failure, and ventilator requirement. The physicians from Augusta Health Cardiology, including Medical Director Dave Varma, MD, want to make sure patients with heart disease are aware that there are some cardiovascular implications of this infection also.

First, there is the tendency for patients to put off attention to heart disease and their cardiac health during the time of this pandemic. We want to emphasize that patients who are suffering from an acute heart attack would benefit from the advanced therapies that the hospital can offer—patients should not delay attention for severe chest pain, shortness of breath, or any other cardiac symptoms or emergencies that they would normally seek attention for. Patients who come to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) will continue to receive life-saving treatment with angioplasty and stent placement.

Patients with cardiovascular illness are at higher risk of complications if they have a COVID infection. The incidence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in patients with COVID infection appears to be about 1 in 6. A COVID-19 infection may also result in a direct myocardial injury, myocarditis. Congestive heart failure because of a weak heart muscle may occur in about 1 out of 4 patients with COVID-19 infection. There also appears to be some increased risk of thrombosis and blood clots forming in the veins in patients with COVID-19.

During this time, we are delaying any elective cardiac procedures. However, it is important to remember that if there are acute symptoms that the patient is concerned about, a delay in care may be more harmful than seeking attention. Consultation with your cardiologist or physician is especially important during the pandemic. Some of this advice may also be given via telehealth. Please call the Augusta Health Cardiology office at (540) 245-7080 to learn about scheduling a telehealth visit with a cardiologist.