With the number of COVID-19 diagnoses continuing to increase throughout the U.S., cardiac patients may be worried. Even if one's own risk of contracting COVID-19 is fairly low, the prospect of needing critical cardiac services and finding that the system is overloaded with pulmonary patients can be worrying. Learn more about some steps cardiac patients can follow to prepare for the possibility of needing urgent medical care during a pandemic.
How Vulnerable to COVID-19 Are Cardiac Patients?
According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 11 percent of the COVID-19 fatalities occurred in patients who had a prior diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, along with another 6 percent of deaths in patients who had hypertension. Experts report that these increased rates are consistent with the hypothesis that those with any serious pre-existing conditions may be at greater risk of developing pneumonia or other breathing troubles.
The use of certain medications designed to treat high blood pressure has been identified as a risk factor to COVID-19 diagnosis, and cardiac patients that are taking any of these medications (including ACE inhibitors) should self-isolate to minimize the risk of contracting this highly virulent disease. Cardiac patients who have depressed immune systems may also be more vulnerable to COVID-19 transmission than the average person and may want to postpone or cancel any elective medical procedures to minimize the amount of time spent in a hospital during the spread of COVID-19.
What Can Cardiac Patients Do to Prepare?
Before self-isolating, cardiac patients should ensure that they have enough medication to get them through an extended period of time. Though it's unlikely that drugstores will totally close over the coming weeks, having these medications handy can minimize the need to go out into the community and may also provide patients with peace of mind during a stressful and uncertain time. You may even want to take advantage of prescription home-delivery options to save time.
Cardiac patients may also want to reschedule or postpone any elective procedures on the books. Many hospitals are already beginning to reallocate their cardiac staff in anticipation of an uptick of hospital admissions, so it may not be possible to have these procedures done even if you want to. For pre-scheduled visits and follow-up appointments, moving to telemedicine may be an option. By speaking to you over an internet video connection, your physician will be able to assess your appearance and function and can refer you to a critical care facility if any problems arise.
For more information, contact a cardiac care center in your area.