30% drop in heart attack patients worries UW Health cardiologists
Local cardiologists are concerned that people are avoiding treatment for heart attacks during the coronavirus pandemic, potentially putting their lives at risk.
UW Health said it has experienced an approximate 30 percent decrease in the number of heart attack patients seeking treatment since the beginning of March, creating concern that people experiencing symptoms are avoiding timely treatment.
"We know that time equals heart muscle, and the sooner a heart attack patient is seen by a cardiologist the better the odds that patient will have a good outcome," said Dr. Amish Raval, UW Health cardiologist.
UW Health is urging anyone who experiences any of the following symptoms of a heart attack to call 911 immediately: Chest pain/discomfort for more than a few minutes, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, discomfort in the arms, back, neck or jaw; nausea or vomiting; and lightheadedness.
"If patients either delay or refuse to seek care altogether, we know the chances of them losing heart muscle goes up exponentially, resulting in heart failure, decreased quality of life, potential future heart attacks, or death," Raval said.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, UW Health said local EMS providers, the UW Health Emergency Department and University Hospital's team of cardiologists is still caring for patients with life-threatening conditions, like heart attacks and other emergent needs.