FORT SMITH, Ark. — Doctors across our area are saying that people who have heart issues are canceling appointments with their cardiologists because they are scared to go inside hospitals because of COVID-19.
“I do not believe that people aren’t having heart attacks or that heart disease isn’t there anymore,” Dr. Nasser Adjei said.
Baptist Health Head of Cardiology and Chief of Staff Dr. Nasser Adjei says since the first day they were getting ready for COVID-19 patients, their volume of cardiology patients has gone down by 80%.
“Unfortunately, what we are going to recognize is when this is all said and done people are going to come in with congestive heart failure,” he said.
He says someone dies of heart disease every four minutes in the United States, so there is no way people in our area aren’t experiencing heart issues right now.
“With a heart attack, it’s either a very big heart attack that kills you or something that you can survive it, but later on down the road develop troubles including congestive heart failure,” Dr. Adjei said.
He says congestive heart failure is very dangerous.
“We don’t quote the numbers very well, but if you have congestive heart failure and your heart is weak your mortality rate in five years…It’s a big number and that is usually a big fear for us,” Dr. Adjei said.
Executive Director of The American Heart Association of NWA and the River Valley, Serena Munns says that’s why it’s so important to call 911 if you are having symptoms of a heart attack. If you aren’t experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, you should still go to your cardiology appointments.
“Your doctor knows best from you and if they are continuing to ask you to attend your appointment, then that means they are of great value to your health. There are also a lot of doctors who are offering virtual care,” Munns said.
The American Heart Association has great resources on their website for how to stay heart healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.