Covid19 and Heart Valve Disease
Thursday 16th April 2020
The global COVID-19 crisis has put an enormous strain on the UK health system which faces the battle of limiting the spread of Coronavirus whilst also providing the treatment and care that will save lives. As a result of this, the UK healthcare system is having to change the way it works and what they prioritise, impacting patients presenting with many conditions, including heart valve disease.
On behalf of all the heart valve disease professional societies and the patient charity Heart Valve Voice, our message to you is that, whilst there may be disruption and delays to appointments and treatments, urgent treatment for heart valve disease will still be undertaken.
Many of the indicators that suggest a patient requires early intervention are symptom driven, so it is crucial that you monitor your symptoms and report any deterioration to your nurse, case manager or primary care physician. Across all our sites we have valve disease resources to help you track your symptoms and I would encourage all valve disease patients to use these resources during this period.
During this crisis we have seen a concerning trend of cardiovascular patients with severe disease avoiding hospitals for fear of contracting COVID-19 virus. By not receiving urgent treatment, they may be putting their lives at greater risk, whereas they may be better-served taking all necessary precautions and putting themselves in the good hands of cardiac surgeons and cardiologists. We urge all patients to monitor their symptoms closely and report any deteriorations. Click here for the symptom tracker.
We are aware that this is a worrying period for UK patients and your concern about your treatment is only exacerbated by concerns about COVID-19 and isolation from your loved ones. The UK professional societies are here to support you through this challenging time. Each of our members is delivering a comprehensive agenda that provides information, support and comfort for patients. This is an unprecedented global challenge, but things will get better. The awareness, detection and treatment of the disease is advancing, so we can be optimistic about the future.
If you are a former patient, we ask you to use your voice to support those people who await treatment by reaching out to Heart Valve Voice. And if you are a patient with any concerns, please feel free to voice these to us so that we can support you at this challenging time.
We believe that when the COVID-19 crisis relents, heart valve disease patients across the UK will need, and should, receive treatment as a matter of urgency. Our focus remains on making the case that early intervention returns older people patients to a good quality of life in optimal time so that they can continue to contribute positively to their families, communities and economies. By ensuring that, we collectively can reduce your risk of the virus and further infections, help to give you back your quality of life and make sure that we contribute to rebuilding our communities following this crisis.