APR 07, 2020 1:45 PM PDT

Heart Attack Doctors Sit Idle Amid Coronavirus Fears

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Across the United States, doctors have reported that hospitals are eerily quiet apart from wards housing patients diagnosed with, or suffering from symptoms of, COVID-19. This is surprising for some, especially given the frequency that emergency rooms and other hospital departments are typically used to treat a wide variety of common ailments such as heart attacks and strokes. 

Particularly alarming for some is that many of the normal emergencies have disappeared. In fact, the New York Times reported that those typically treating heart attack and stroke emergencies are largely sitting idle. Meanwhile, cardiologists have reported that their cardiology consultations have declined, apart from those related to COVID-19. More than this, half of the respondents to an informal Twitter poll reported a 40-60% decline in heart attack admissions, while 20% reported a reduction in heart attack admissions exceeding 60%. The same trend has also been noticed in Spain, with a 40% reduction in heart attack emergencies. 

These statistics are contrary to what doctors previously predicted. As high levels of depression, anxiety and frustration are known to double one’s risk of having a heart attack, they had previously thought that emergency cardiovascular cases would spike alongside cases of COVID-19. This comes especially as underlying cardiovascular disease is known to be a compounding factor towards negative outcomes for those with COVID-19. So what happened?

Some of the decline in patients arriving to the emergency room with problems other than COVID-19 is of course due to structural changes such as the canceling of elective procedures. Moreover, hospital staff have largely switched to using telemedicine applications to monitor and support outpatients who are not acutely ill.

Beyond this though, Harlan Krumholz, a professor of medicine at Yale University said that this decrease may have happened due to most people staying home and therefore potentially avoiding certain triggers that normally precede a cardiovascular event. Another factor may be that those suffering from troublesome symptoms would rather stay at home than risk going to hospital and catching COVID-19. This comes especially as doctors in Hong Kong reported an increase in patients arriving at hospital with late-stage heart attacks often beyond a point when treatments can be effective. 

To this end, doctors have urged patients not to stay at home and leave potentially life-threatening illnesses and symptoms untreated. Although they acknowledge the need for as many people as possible to stay at home during this crisis, in case of severe conditions that require hospital care, they urge patients to arrive at the hospital, where they can be assured to receive proper treatment in a safe environment.  


Sources: New York Times, Rec: Interventional Cardiology

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
APR 23, 2020
Cardiology
Arteries Respond in Different Ways in Females and Males
APR 23, 2020
Arteries Respond in Different Ways in Females and Males
Exploring Arterial Smooth Muscle Kv7 Potassium Channel Function using Patch Clamp Electrophysiology and Pressure Myograp ...
MAY 21, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Taking the Guesswork out of Fat Consumption
MAY 21, 2020
Taking the Guesswork out of Fat Consumption
  When it comes to healthy eating, we often receive mixed messages. Low fat diets that have been popularized for de ...
JUL 07, 2020
Cardiology
Investigating New Ways to Diagnose a Heart of Bone
JUL 07, 2020
Investigating New Ways to Diagnose a Heart of Bone
Calcific aortic stenosis, or calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD), is a progressive cardiovascular disease where the aor ...
JUL 21, 2020
Cardiology
Investigating New Anti-Blood Clotting Treatments
JUL 21, 2020
Investigating New Anti-Blood Clotting Treatments
When it comes to your cardiovascular health, it is important to look at more than just your heart. The cardiovascular sy ...
AUG 27, 2020
Immunology
A Seaweed-Inspired Shuttle for Delivering a Stem Cell Cargo
AUG 27, 2020
A Seaweed-Inspired Shuttle for Delivering a Stem Cell Cargo
  Living medicines in the form of stem cell therapies have immense potential for their ability to regenerate and he ...
AUG 30, 2020
Cardiology
Plant-Based Diets Are Healthier When Low in Processed Foods
AUG 30, 2020
Plant-Based Diets Are Healthier When Low in Processed Foods
While many research studies have shown that reducing meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is healthier, not all ...
Loading Comments...