The COVID19 pandemic has created significant challenges for everyone across the world. During the first wave, access to non emergency treatment for patients with cancer and heart disease was restricted as UK hospitals prepared for the unknown effects of the pandemic on our healthcare system. Patients with heart disease suffered complications quietly at home rather than attend hospitals for life saving treatments because of the fear of contracting COVID19 infection. Many thousands of patients with heart disease have died without seeking treatment and many others have been left with serious heart failure as a result of untreated heart disease.
Doctors are concerned that individuals with heart disease may now take the same approach of treatment delay during the second wave. There are two main reasons why patients needing heart surgery should continue to undergo diagnosis and treatment for serious underlying heart problems:
- Delaying important heart surgery is likely to expose patients to higher risk than the isolated risks associated with contracting COVID19.
- COVID19 is here for a while yet and no one can predict when the disease will be eradicated, if ever. Delaying heart surgery will only worsen the inevitable outcome associated with the risks of untreated underlying heart disease.
In recognition of the importance of giving patients the confidence that they need when embarking upon their heart treatment, we have worked closely with our hospital teams to ensure that patients are treated in protected environments to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID19 as far as possible.
All patients and staff entering our partner hospitals at The Harley Street Clinic and The Wellington Hospital, have temperature checks performed. The hospitals encourage the wearing of masks on entry and staff members are regularly screened for COVID19 infection. The infection control and cleaning policies have been redesigned to maximise the cleanliness of our hospital environment. Patients must self isolate for 14 days prior to surgery and will have their COVID19 status checked at least 3 days prior to surgery to ensure that they are not asymptomatically affected. These very strict measures have allowed us to treat all types of heart conditions as safely as possible during these trying times.
Our message is simple, if you need heart surgery, there is no sense in delaying your treatment as long as your surgery is performed in a strictly controlled COVID exclusion environment.