From the Journals

New guidance on management of acute CVD during COVID-19


 

Establish plans now

“We operationalized all of these strategies at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center several weeks ago, since Boston had that early outbreak with the Biogen conference, but I suspect many institutions nationally are still formulating plans,” said Dhruv Kazi, MD, MSc, in an interview.

Although COVID-19 is “primarily a single-organ disease – it destroys the lungs” – transmission of infection to cardiology providers was an early problem that needed to be addressed, said Dr. Kazi. “We now know that a cardiologist seeing a patient who reports shortness of breath and then leans in to carefully auscultate the lungs and heart can get exposed if not provided adequate personal protective equipment; hence the cancellation of elective procedures, conversion of most elective visits to telemedicine, if possible, and the use of surgical/N95 masks in clinic and on rounds.”

Regarding the CSC recommendation to consider medical over invasive management, Dr. Kazi noteed that this works better in a setting where rapid testing is available. “Where that is not the case – as in the U.S. – resorting to conservative therapy for all COVID suspect cases will result in suboptimal care, particularly when nine out of every 10 COVID suspects will eventually rule out.”

One of his biggest worries now is that patients simply won’t come. Afraid of being exposed to COVID-19, patients with MIs and strokes may avoid or delay coming to the hospital.

“There is some evidence that this occurred in Wuhan, and I’m starting to see anecdotal evidence of this in Boston,” said Dr. Kazi. “We need to remind our patients that, if they experience symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, they deserve the same lifesaving treatment we offered before this pandemic set in. They should not try and sit it out.”

A version of this article originally appeared on Medscape.com.

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