Half of ICU coronavirus patients have chronic heart disease

By June Shannon Coronavirus News   |   8th May 2020

One in two patients in ICU with coronavirus have serious heart condition

Serious heart disease is the most common underlying condition in patients admitted to ICU who are suffering from Coronavirus it has emerged.

According to new data released yesterday at the Department of Health press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, an analysis of 327 patients admitted to intensive care with COVID-19, 165 patients or 50 per cent had chronic heart disease.

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director, Irish Heart Foundation said the statistics highlight the need for people living with heart disease and stroke to continue taking special precautions, including to follow cocooning advice, to minimise interaction with other people and protect themselves.

Though this information is worrying for patients with underlying heart disease it is not a surprise as information from other countries has already told us that patients with underlying heart disease – that includes people who have had heart attacks, heart failure, heart disease secondary to high blood pressure etc. are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus.”

“It confirms the importance of these patients taking special care and to continue cocooning if they are over 70 years of age, immunocompromised or have severe heart disease or other severe diseases such as lung disease. The new guidance advises that people who are cocooning can now go out for exercise and it is important to try and take as much regular exercise as you can, eat healthily and stop smoking if you smoke. It remains very important that you avoid contact with people other than those you live with, and wash your hands regularly particularly when you return home.”

“It confirms the importance of these patients taking special care and to continue cocooning if they are over 70 years of age, immunocompromised or have severe heart disease or other severe diseases, "

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director , The Irish Heart Foundation

The data also revealed that 76 patients in ICU with coronavirus or 23.2 per cent were suffering from chronic respiratory disease, 74 or 22.6 per cent had diabetes, 34 or 10.4 per cent had asthma that required medication, 53 or 16.2 per cent were living with obesity (BMI over 40), 31 or 9.5 per cent had cancer and 20 or 6.1 per cent had chronic kidney disease

Speaking at the briefing the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, said that a number of people may have more than one of these conditions.

“Bear in mind that there will be overlap between those so we’re not saying that each one of those is separate, it may well be the case for example that a person with a BMI of over 40 also has diabetes,” he said.

The briefing also heard that 78 per cent of people in Ireland who have contracted the coronavirus has now recoverd. An analysis of 21,929 cases of covid-19 has shown that 15,711 have recovered in the community or 71.6 per cent , 1,399 or 6.4 per cent have been discharged from hospital giving a total of 17,110 people who have recovered from Covid-19 in Ireland.

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said, “78 per cent of people who have been diagnosed to date with COVID-19 have recovered. This is very welcome and in line with international experience, however, the course of this disease in any one individual remains unpredictable. It is important that we are all aware of the risks and know how to prevent its spread.”

We are here for you

The Irish Heart Foundation’s nurse support line is available five days a week. Anyone living with heart disease and stroke who has concerns or questions about the coronavirus can contact the nurse support line on 01 668 5001 or support@irishheart.ie.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s new heart support group is on Facebook. Anyone who lives with heart failure or another heart condition or has a family member living with a heart condition can join here: www.facebook.com/groups/heartsupportnetwork/

The Irish Heart Foundation runs 21 stroke support groups and 5 heart failure groups around the country. All these groups have moved to telephone and online support. For more information, see https://irishheart.ie/get-support/.

The Irish Heart Foundation in conjunction with the HSE National Stroke Programme, has launched a new telephone support service for stroke patients who have recently been discharged from hospital. For more information, see here.


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