Dr. Suresh Patted, Prof & HOD Department of Cardiology, KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital & MRC, Belagavi.
The population at a large and medical fraternity, in particular, is living in the most difficult period of a century. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on the health care profession, healthcare system and individual healthcare warriors. Dr. Patted expressed that, we do not know what is in store for COVID warriors in the days to come, during this pandemic. But we definitely know that taking care of the heart (in both healthy & diseased) patients is very vital and goes a long way to save us. Recently in one of the study, it has been shown that 80% of the COVID deaths are because of heart involvement.
Just to reiterate Cardiac disease is the most common cause of death in the world. Cardiac disease has many risk factors like smoking, diabetes, high BP, and Obesity. To add to it during the pandemic time we have seen that patients are scared to go to the hospital to seek medical care because of the possible risk of developing the disease by coming in contact with COVID patients in the hospital.
This is an excerpt from an exclusive interview Dr. Suresh Patted, Head of Department of Cardiology of KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital, Belagavi.
Is heart patients are at higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19 compared to those, who don’t have heart disease?
Dr. Suresh V Patted: Heart patients are not at higher risk of getting infected with the virus. Anyone could be infected with the coronavirus. If heart patients are infected with the coronavirus, they are likely to develop severe infection & complications than others with no heart conditions.
How does Covid-19 affect the Heart?
Dr. S V P: It is an established fact that a virus attack causes damage to the lungs, in turn, puts pressure on the cardiovascular system. Blood oxygen levels drop due to infection in the lungs which causes a drop in blood pressure. In such cases, the heart is under pressure to beat faster and harder to supply oxygen to major organs of the body.
Are, cardiac patients who have diabetes and/or hypertension at greater risk?
Yes, people with Diabetes & Hypertension (BP) are at greater risk of developing complications, particularly senior citizens (above 60 Years) who need to take extra care. I advise them not to venture outside, not to attend the party, religious functions, and remain active in the home. These patients continue to take their medicines and make telecalls to their Physicians and take further advice.
What is your suggestion to patients with co-morbid conditions?
Three simple practices suggested by WHO need to be strictly followed and adhered they are Social distancing, Wearing masks, and frequently washing your hand with soap and water. Further, Once again, I reiterate that do not go out of home and remain active at home. If you have the slightest symptoms of coronavirus immediately get it tested and hospitalized. Reporting late to the hospital may develop complications. Never panic, it may lead to anxiety and stress.
What is the condition of the implants placed in heart patients?
Dr. S V P : So far, there is no evidence that the virus infects implanted devices such as stents, pacemakers, amplaz devices, cardioverter-defibrillators or infects the heart valve.
Is there an increase in mortality among heart patients with COVID-19 than those without?
Dr. S V P: The studies have reflected that; older age with the presence of heart conditions have higher risk factors for mortality. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that most patients, even those with underlying heart disease, have had mild infections and have fully recovered.
By being at home how can we take care of heart?
Dr. S V P: By remaining in-home one can experience boredom and deprived of socialization. To overcome this calls your friend, family members. Do not glue to TV channels for long hours. Read spiritual books, involve in household chores. Develop an exercise regimen, walk in the compound/home, do Pranayam (breathing exercise), Yoga, play with children, keep family members in good humor & develop a positive attitude and remain happy. Never forget to take plenty of rest, 7-8 hours good sleep also boost energy.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Patted stressed the importance of nutritious food to boost once immunity. A diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruit is generally recommended at all times, not just during COVID-19 to help your body maintain a working immune system. Fresh vegetables and fruits contain a much broader range of necessary nutrients advised to consume them in plenty.