Is It OK to Put Off Having a Heart Procedure?
IF YOU’RE having a heart attack Call 911 to get emergency care right away.
It is important to remember that even though confinement and social distancing are central to the fight against COVID, there is a risk in staying home and avoiding emergency departments if you are experiencing symptoms that are out of the ordinary.
WHEN NOT TO DELAY EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE.
If you experience concerning symptoms that may indicate you’re having a heart attack, don’t delay in getting immediate medical attention. Possible signs of a heart attack include:
- Discomfort, or squeezing, pressure, tightness or crushing pain in the center of your chest.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea or other stomach discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat.
- Pain or aching not only in your chest but that spreads to one or both arms, your neck, or jaw.
In other cases, patients may experience a range of symptoms that could be signs of underlying heart disease. These may be subtler or become apparent over time and may include everything from increased fatigue during exercise to a rapid heartbeat to high or variable blood pressure to symptoms of a stroke. You should discuss these or any other symptoms you may have with your doctor to ensure you’re appropriately monitored. The clinician can help determine if a phone call or telemedicine is sufficient or, if serious enough, in-person medical attention is deemed to be necessary.
WHEN HEART PROCEDURES CAN BE SAFELY DELAYED?
A lot of patients are considering delaying medical care during the Pandemic. For patients who have been recommended to have a heart procedure, there’s no simple cookbook formula for determining if it can be safely put off. Instead, it’s important for patients to talk about the implications of this with their doctors before making a decision.
There needs to be a careful discussion between the patient and the doctor regarding balancing the risk of delaying a procedure.
The decision to postpone medical procedures will also depend on COVID-19 activity in the place you live. A patient with a particular problem in need of a heart procedure may be better off delaying their procedure in a geographical area that is particularly impacted by COVID-19, Whereas that same patient may be better off having their procedure sooner in an area where the COVID-19 problem is not (as) significant.
WHAT IS THE RISK OF ACQUIRING COVID 19 DURING SURGERY?
The risk of requiring COVID 19 at your health care facility is relatively small given extraordinary precautions in some facilities. Risk is dependent on the COVID 19 activity in your region as well as the facility.
It is extremely small in COVID free ambulatory surgery centers where everyone is pre-screened and tested free of disease