Doctors face additional challenge while treating heart attacks in COVID-19 patients

Despite complications, doctors from Stanley and RGGGH have saved many Covid patients with cardiac attack

Published: 03rd November 2020 05:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd November 2020 03:55 PM   |  A+A-


Image used for representational purpose only

Express News Service

CHENNAI: It’s a double whammy for any patient  — suffering a heart attack while being diagnosed with Covid, which causes severe lung complications. However, doctors at two GHs in the city were able to save several patients who suffered from these twin ailments. 

Data shows that in the last eight months, out of the 246 Covid patients at the Stanley GH who had a heart attack while being admitted, only six had died. In the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), senior cardiologists said that close to 300 Covid patients suffered a heart attack while they were admitted and among them, more than 90 per cent had recovered. Also, while Stanley GH saw 2,612 heart-related issues in Covid patients, the RGGGH treated about 1,000 Covid patients with pre-existing heart problems. 

“Normally, the lungs and heart function as a single unit. When Covid affects the lungs, the oxygen saturation dips. Thus, when a person simultaneously also has a coronary artery block, it is a double blow for the body,” said Dr K Kannan, Head of Department of Cardiology at the Stanley GH. In simple words, if the blood oxygen (SpO2) percentage is 99, the heart also gets 99 percent oxygen, and if it is 85, the heart also gets only 85, said Dr Kannan. “Patients with pre-existing heart conditions are challenged by hypoxia (absence of enough oxygen),” said Dr Kannan, adding that some patients come with heart conditions while a few develop cardio-vascular illnesses while being admitted at the hospital. 

The Stanley GH saved the lives of Covid patients suffering from acute heart attacks by performing 16 cardio-angiograms  (medical imaging to find clots in arteries, veins and heart chamber) and among them, they did six cardio-angioplasties (invasive procedure to widen obstructed arteries and restore blood flow to heart). Dr N Swaminathan, Director of Institute of Cardiology at the RGGGH, said that instability of patient’s parameters and lack of adequate oxygen are two primary challenges but they are treated efficiently with early diagnosis and care. “We recently successfully treated a Covid-positive new mother who had heart attack. She was referred from a private facility after giving birth,” he said. 

Dr Swaminathan said that cardiologists were made available round-the-clock. “We were able to medically manage the heart attack cases,” he added. Doctors said that the exclusive Intensive Care Units set up in Covid block for positive patients with cardiovascular illness also played a major role. 

Fall in chennai’s active cases

Tamil Nadu tested 70,297 samples out of which 2,481 persons tested Covid-19 positive and 31 died on Monday.

A Patient without comorbodity dies

A 36-year-old man from Chengalpattu was among three who died without comorbid conditions. The victim was tested positive on October 22 and admitted on the next day at a private medical college and hospital, Kancheepuram with complaints of fever, throat pain for three days, cough for one day. He died on November 1 due to Covid-19 pneumonia,the bulletin added.


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