Hospitals in Vizag now a days seeing fewer patients in the wake of spike in coronavirus cases. Experts say a number of patients are refraining from visiting hospitals because they fear a visit to the hospital may expose them to the novel coronavirus infection.
Speaking to Hello Vizag, Dr M N Raju, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist of Seven Hills Hospital said there are primarily two reasons why fewer heart patients are visiting hospitals these days. “First, they are scared of visiting hospitals and are thus suppressing their symptoms. Many patients are only reporting to hospitals when their conditions deteriorate. “They are not reporting heart attacks when it is in the mild stage. This has been happening since past three months,” Dr Rao said. “It is true that only one-third of our patients are reporting to us about their cardiac problems these days,” he said.
Speaking in a similar vein, Dr Balaraju, pulmonology expert of Gayatri Nursing home, too said heart patients are refraining from visiting hospitals because they are scared due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Because of Covid-19, we are seeing a dip in number of patients visiting clinics. Patients are scared. Besides, most consultations are either through call or video calls these days,” Dr Balaraju said, adding that there has also been a decrease in number of hypertension patients visiting hospitals.
Many hospitals are witnessing 40 per cent downward trend, leaving cardiologists worried about a second wave of deaths caused indirectly by Covid-19. Patients so afraid to enter hospitals that they are waiting so long to seek care that they’re going to suffer massive damage to their hearts or brains. Some call it “a virus of fear.” The steep reduction in patients coming to hospitals is puzzling, even shocking, to many clinicians. Some have floated the idea that aspects of the pandemic shutdown, including decreases in air pollution, fewer heavy restaurant meals, and less exertion from work might be leading to a reduction in heart attack and stroke incidence. But other experts caution that even if those factors exist, they are outweighed by the stress, isolation, lack of regular exercise, and higher intake of salty, processed, shelf-stable foods resulting from stay-at-home orders.
Asked whether heart patients face any additional risk of contracting Covid-19, some cardiologists said though there have been some Covid-19 patients who are also heart patients, but more data is needed to arrive at any conclusion.
Dr. K V Srinivas Rao, General Physician said “the whole community is discussing this, asking where are all our patients? Clinicians say patients with these life-threatening conditions have also stopped seeking treatment in large numbers. The main reason for the drop off in patients is that fear. “I think patients are scared to be exposed. Their perception is that hospitals are hotbeds for exposure and contamination,” Dr. Rao said. He and other physicians think many may be ignoring or dismissing their symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, or weakness.
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