COVID-19 (coronavirus) and cardiac health

The COVID-19 pandemic is caused by a new virus (SARS-CoV-2), first reported late December 2019 in China. Latest COVID-19 case numbers. Current data suggest the potential cardiac complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are similar to that seen with SARS, MERS and other influenza type infections.

The main symptoms of the disease are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

For most people (80% of cases) the illness is mild but the virus can cause severe illness in:

  • those who are older than 60 (people 80 and older are at highest risk)
  • those who have underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, diabetes, or cancer

Some ways to stay healthy:

1. Defend Against Infection

The virus may spread from person to person within 6 feet of one another if someone with the virus sneezes or coughs. Protective steps include:

  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If you cough, cover your mouth or use the inside of your elbow
  • If you sneeze, cover your nose or use the inside of your elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean surfaces touched often like doorknobs, handles, steering wheels, or light switches with a disinfectant to remove the virus
  • While risk is high undertake social distancing (2m) or consider use of a face mask if social distancing is not possible.
  • Avoid gatherings and limit unnecessary travel.

2. Keep Up Healthy Habits

  • Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and manage stress.
  • If you experience fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call rather than attend your GP.
  • Treatment for virus infections, including COVID-19, typically involves rest and staying hydrated but if you have heart failure, excess fluid in your body may be a concern. If so, ask your doctor about extra monitoring you might need.
  • If you are taking medicine for a health condition, including heart disease or diabetes, problems may occur if you skip a dose or stop it altogether. Don't change your medications or treatment without first talking to your doctor.

3. Ask About Telephone Consultation

At present, it is recommended to have a telephone consultation rather than a face to face visit to limit possible contact with others who may have the virus. Telephone consults are now undertaken via Kingsbridge.


Latest COVID-19 case numbers

Latest cardiology updates about COVID-19

Latest COVID-19 updates from CDC

Latest SARS-CoV-2 research papers

ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin receptor blockers and COVID-19 : ESC advice

ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin receptor blockers and COVID-19 : latest research

COVID-19 Google resources