Should a heart procedure be delayed due to pandemic?

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Will you visit a hospital, if you have a non-corona virus medical problem? The pandemic continues as there are still reports from many parts of the country and the world. It is a valid concern. Due to fears of the spread of the new corona virus, healthcare providers worldwide have reduced personal contact with their patients to a minimum.

This has affected, among other diseases, patients who need alternative surgery, for example, bypass of the coronary artery graft (CABG), or the repair/replacement of the valves. However, this can endanger patients’ lives and complications can arise as they wait for operations. Though the respiratory infection killed tens of thousands of people, it was also less well known: thousands of deaths from heart disease and a few other medical problems were anticipated.

There is no simple cookbook formula for determining if it is safe to postpone for patients who were recommended to have a cardiac procedure. The analysis reveals that many people with severe conditions were killed due to complications or inability to seek care as the epidemic spread and some hospitals inundated. The risk of no treatment is greater than the risk of exposure to the virus. Many hospitals have started elective operations, prioritizing patients’ wellbeing. They have begun operations with all the requisite precautions, 3 to 4 operations per week. They ensure that people who are waiting for heart surgery will take place under most treatment procedures Covid19, depending on the nature of the condition.

However, some precautionary measures should be followed by the hospital staff and the patients and their visitors to ensure that the utmost protection is maintained.

  • Masks/cloth barriers have to be used by patients and visitors. 
  • Ensure the use of medical masks for all health staff who communicate with patients. 
  • All patients and their attendants entering the hospital must be offered hand sanitizers.
  • All should be made to maintain social distancing.
  • All high touch areas must be routinely washed and disinfected.
  • Ensure regular disinfection of all medical equipment used. 
  • The personal protection devices must be used by all medical personnel involved with patients.
  • After you have returned from the hospital, take the shoes off at the entrance, sanitize your hands and go straight to the shower. Remove the clothes and wash them in detergent water. It is advisable to take a soap bath or wash your face or hands with soap on the body and all visible areas.

In many cases, several operations for heart-impaired arteries may be postponed safely. This includes waiting for stents to open arteries or surgery to bypass blood by a different route to restore blood flow into the heart in cases of stable heart disease. Lifestyle improvements – such as better diet and daily workout – and treatment are always enough to treat these patients optimally.

However, also in the pandemic, experts emphasize that all patients can’t postpone such heart operations for a month or even months. And no patient should conclude that this is the best decision for them without a comprehensive risk-benefit conversation with their doctor.

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