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Dr. Gregory Weiss offers a breakdown of the recent ESC guidelines for management of cardiovascular disease during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including specific insight into care pathways, treatment, and follow-up.
It has been nearly 2 years since the first cases of clinical COVID-19 were identified. Since then, the novel coronavirus has infected tens of millions of people worldwide and led to unprecedented mortality and morbidity. Through it all colleges and societies of cardiologists have raced to keep up with the cardiovascular implications of exposure and infection with COVID-19. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) has kept pace studying the data and issuing recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of CVD during the pandemic.
Most recently the ESC has issued guidance with regards to care pathways, treatment, and follow-up for patients presenting with cardiovascular conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest guide produced by The Task Force for the Management of COVID-19 of the European Society of Cardiology represents the second part of a two-part series addressing care of the cardiovascular patient during the pandemic. In this part they specifically address care pathways, treatment plans, and following up after discharge.
Patients should be counseled to avoid sick people, practice social distancing, proper hand washing techniques and frequency, covering their mouth and nose when coughing, avoidance of touching their faces, and surface decontamination techniques.
Patients should be told to self-isolate in case of symptoms but when healthy they should engage in physical activity and maintain well-being.
Finally, patients with CVD should continue to practice healthy lifestyle behaviors. They should not smoke, they should avoid inactivity, and they should attend any clinical appointments with an emphasis on telehealth visits when feasible. As clinicians we should encourage our patients to keep up with their medication regimen and unless contraindicated, get vaccinated for COVID-19.
While the most salient points contained within the ESC recommendations have been relayed here the sheer volume of information was beyond the brevity and scope of this review. The entirety of the recommendations can be found here.
ESC guidance for the diagnosis and management of cardiovascular disease during the COVID-19 pandemic: part 2—care pathways, treatment, and follow-up. Eur Heart J. 2021. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehab697.