Covid fear, lockdown worsening patient's cardiac issues

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 Rohit Shishodia
Fearing that visiting the hospital might result in getting corona virus, patients with heart disease have ended up with advanced cardiac complications while staying at home.

Doctors at Delhi's Apollo Hospitals have said that several factors have contributed to an upsurge in patients suffering from heart attacks during the lockdown. Primarily, lack of activity, increased consumption of tobacco and alcohol, decreased doctor consultations and self-medication have been responsible for worsening cadiac issues.

Dr Mukesh Goel, Senior Consultant, Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said, “ While there are fewer acute heart attack cases being admitted to hospital emergency units, there is a marked increase in deaths from cardiac arrest at home, probably due to the postponement and delay by patients in seeking medical attention."

"Unlike previous years, this year we have seen a remarkable decline in people with cardiac ailments voluntarily planning their elective cardiac procedures and also following schedules of their routine checkups," said Dr Goyal.

According to the hospital, recently, a 72-year-old lady from Faridabad suffered a massive heart attack leading to rupture of the heart wall after ignoring acute heart burn for over 12 hours.

Owing to the fear of visiting a hospital and contracting Covid 19, she decided to put up with her current state of health in spite of suffering from discomfort in her chest.

Her condition deteriorated within hours and after suffering throughout the night she was referred to Apollo Hospitals by a local doctor.

On June 20, she was admitted to the hospital in a state of cardiogenic shock and after evaluation it was identified that she had had a massive heart attack causing rupture in the wall of her heart separating the two chambers.

This had led to severe lung congestion and low urine output leading to a progressive kidney failure.

Her condition was stabilized by putting her on temporary cardiac support for three days after which she underwent a successful five hour procedure of surgical repair of the rupture along with a heart bypass.

Dr Goyal said that had the patient come in for timely medical intervention as soon as she developed chest discomfort, she would not have required to undergo such a complex procedure.

In another similar case, a team of doctors led by Dr Goel and Dr Rajiv Kumar Rajput, senior cardiologist, successfully performed a complicated surgery on a 59 year old man with a Left Ventricular Aneurysm (an abnormal ballooned out swelling which develops in approximately 1 to 2% patients who suffer a major heart attack).

The patient had been suffering from heart related ailments for the past six months and was delaying his treatment owing to fear of Covid. A CPR survivor, delay in appropriate treatment had made his condition life threatening as he also suffered from multiple co-morbidities like asthma, hypertension and very low heart function.


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