Ever since COVID-19 has been announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020, it has been throwing various curveballs at us. It was just at the time we thought things are getting back to normal, the second wave of this deadly contagious infection reared its ugly head. While the focus of everyone especially those in the medical fraternity is currently on treating coronavirus patients, there are certain aspects of health that would require emergency medical attention.
In these tough times, one should never forget that heart, the most vital organ in the human body needs all the care. Corona or not, heart health is what defines our overall wellbeing, and it demands all the medical attention it deserves, all the time.
It is no secret that coronavirus patients with comorbid conditions and severe symptoms like low levels of oxygen saturation are at high risk of heart related ailments. Dr R Keshava, Director – Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bangalore strongly advises everyone to follow Covid appropriate behaviour and urges to take of the heart during these pandemic days.
“In the past one and half year, we have been witnessing a disturbing trend where heart patients are reaching hospital very late after the advent of a heart attack. Few patients come 1 or 2 days, after the heart attack and they do not realise that the functioning of the heart deteriorates within 24 hours. If not treated on time, 25% of the heart gets damaged within 6 hours, 50% in 12 hours and 90% in 24 hours which could be fatal,” he says.
The expert further says that any delay in the treatment even with best procedures in place, may not help in saving the life as heart damage is permanent and irreversible.
When Should You Go To Hospital?
If you suspect having a heart attack, which often presents with severe chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, (do not confuse it with covid symptom), pain in the left arm, sweating go to nearest hospital at the earliest, for the doctors to run tests and diagnose the problem. Remember, the earlier you reach, the better as the heart muscle can be saved and heart damage can be prevented. One should understand that the long-time prognosis, happy survival of the patient is totally dependant upon on how early the patient reaches the hospital.
Fortis Healthcare has earmarked separate units for the heart patients and their attendants away from the corona patients treating wards and these rooms, which are regularly sanitized with strict Covid protocols in place.
Cardiac Care In Covid Wards:
Corona patients with severe complications require 24x7 monitoring of the cardiac doctors. ECMO or Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation is an advanced treatment procedure that provides extensive cardiac and respiratory support to the patients fighting infection. Our team of expert interventional cardiologists, exceptionally trained paramedical and ECMO team offer 24x7 care in patients where artificial ventilation support is not enough for sustaining oxygen saturation.
Who Needs An ECMO Support?
ECMO support is strongly recommended for the patients with severe lung damage. ECMO works by temporarily drawing blood from the body for providing artificial oxygenation of the red blood cells and eliminate carbon dioxide. With this treatment, there are higher chances for the lungs to rest and heal significantly. In certain cases, like 100% lung damage, the patient may have to be on ECMO support until a transplant is possible.
When Can A Patient Get Weaned From ECMO Support?
For the patients who are critically ill due to respiratory failure, the doctors would look into factors like pulmonary compliance, radiographic appearance, arterial oxyhemoglobin saturation before taking the patient off the ventilator. The patient will be slowly weaned only if these markers are satisfactory.
And in the case of cardiac patients, the doctors would check for increased and improved left ventricular output before taking off the ECMO support. Permanent weaning is done when the flow is less than 2 litres per minute and the patient will be monitored closely for next few hours to days till condition becomes completely better.
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With 56 hospitals across the nation and over 10,000 beds, Fortis Healthcare Limited is a leading integrated healthcare delivery service provider in India. For over 26 years, Fortis Hospitals have been committed to the cause of getting people back to their lives faster and stronger.