“COVID phobia” has increased the novel coronavirus’ collateral damage by stopping high-risk patients from seeking necessary care. That includes patients at risk for heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events.
According to findings published in the European Heart Journal – Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes, the number of heart attack patients seeking urgent hospital care has dropped by more than 50% during the COVID-19 outbreak. Cardiac patients are avoiding the hospital to prevent potential COVID-19 exposure, but their choice could be equally deadly – especially if they opt out on seeking acute cardiac care. The risk of dying from an untreated heart attack is 10 times higher than the risk of dying from COVID-19.
To remind the public that their heart health matters, international patient and advocacy organizations have banded together to promote a simple message to cardiac patients around the world: When your heart says so… #JustGo.
The campaign reminds patients that sometimes staying home is not the safest option. Social messages centered on the hashtag share observations such as “My hospital is safer than the grocery store” and “Ambulance personnel would prefer to be called and not needed than to be needed and not called.” It also features stories from heart attack and stroke survivors whose experiences illustrate the value of timely care.
The Global Alliance for Patient Access, along with the European Society of Cardiology, the European Atherosclerosis Society, and the World Heart Federation, has joined FH Europe and the Global Heart Hub to support the confidence-building campaign.
As data underscores the importance of seeking medical help for cardiac and stroke emergencies during COVID-19 crisis, #JustGo is becoming the rallying cry for timely, patient-centered care that can help curb the pandemic’s devastation.