Coronavirus pandemic is stopping some heart patients from seeking care


[Star Tribune, May 31, 2020] People with serious heart problems have been getting the wrong message about avoiding the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are at greater risk of dying as a result, doctors say.

People experiencing signs of possible heart attack like chest pain and shortness of breath should contact their doctor, call 911 or go to the emergency room—even in the middle of the pandemic. Signs of a heart attack vary, though uncomfortable pressure in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes is most common.

But several studies, including one led by researchers at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, have shown interventions for heart attacks have quickly declined during the pandemic. In Paris, researchers found that cardiac arrests outside of hospitals grew drastically in March and April, and the proportion of those patients admitted to the hospital alive dropped by almost half.

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