Covid-infected persons are more prone to cardiac arrest

Dr Rajasekhar
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Dr Rajasekhar

Highlights

Patients should adhere to doctors’ prescription to reduce risk of heart attacks. Though the deadly disease primarily affects lungs, heart can also be affected in a variety of ways

Tirupati: "Cardiac patients are as susceptible to Covid as any normal person. But in case of cardiac patients, Covid can create some additional problems. Such patients are more prone to heart attacks due to altered coagulation, sayd Dr D Rajasekhar, senior Professor and Head of Cardiology department at SVIMS.

Rajasekhar said, "Adherence to the prescription given by doctors during Covid-19 attack and after discharge is important to reduce the risk of heart attacks. Also pre-existing cardiac patients should continue routine cardiac medication under physician supervision."

Referring to the panic which many Covid patients are encountering, he said that panic reaction does not help and it will certainly increase risk of heart attacks. Educating the public and patients at large can help reduce panic attacks. Covid-19 illness though deadly, does lead to good outcomes in more than 98 percent of cases.

Severe Covid-19 can lead to low blood pressure but such patients with severe attacks would be hospitalised and the doctors would take care of the patient. In case such patients are not admitted any BP tablets being used by them should be stopped and they should approach nearest Covid hospital for admission, he said.

Covid primarily affects lungs but heart can be affected in severe cases in a variety of ways. These include blood clotting in arteries leading to heart strokes, arrhythmias and reduction in pumping capacity of heart.

Dr Rajasekhar added that once recovered, in the post Covid syndrome breathlessness is common but it is mostly due to impaired lung function. Cardiomyopathy, with reduced pumping capacity could develop in a small proportion of post Covid syndrome patients. Further, doctors identify such patients who are at risk of blood clotting in post Covid state and prescribe drugs like aspirin or blood thinner for 4-8 weeks and this will help improve outcomes.

Covid appropriate behaviour – mask, social distancing, frequent hand wash and avoidance of unnecessary outdoor activities are very relevant for cardiac patients. Also vaccine hesitancy should be avoided and the two doses of vaccine have to be taken at the earliest when the turn comes.

Underlining the importance of vaccination further, he said that it is generally safe for cardiac patients. They can be better off with vaccination than without it. Stent patients should also undergo vaccination. To a question he said that aspirin or Clopidogrel should not be stopped for vaccination but patients on blood thinners like Warfarin should undergo PT/INR testing and take physician's advice before vaccination.

Though, vaccination can be done any time after cardiac surgery or stenting, 2-3 weeks gap may be a good interval so that it can heal, he averred.

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