JACC Paper Suggests Changes For SHD Clinics to Reduce COVID-19 Risk During Pandemic

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Practices that treat patients with structural heart disease (SHD) likely will need to restructure operations during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize the risk of coronavirus exposure to patients and health workers and to preserve medical resources, according to an article published April 9 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Christine J. Chung, MD, et al., describe changes made at an SHD clinic in New York, NY, during the COVID-19 pandemic and make recommendations for other SHD clinics. The recommendations focus on helping clinics to 1) ensure appropriate, sensitive and timely treatment of SHD patients; 2) minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to patients and health care workers; and 3) limit resource utilization under conditions of constraint.

The recommendations outline how to implement a telehealth practice and assist patients, who may be unfamiliar with necessary technology, prepare for telehealth appointments. The authors stress the need for clear, transparent communication with patients, as well as instructions for patients to self-monitor their conditions.

In addition, the recommendations suggest a roadmap for canceling SHD procedures and triaging emergent procedures based on the patient's specific condition and status. For procedures that do take place during the pandemic, the authors recommend adaptions for catheterization (cath) laboratories to reduce the risk of exposure and conserve personal protective equipment.

Finally, Chung, et al., note that "creative ways to alleviate the backlog of elective patients requiring procedures" will be necessary as the number of COVID-19 patients decreases.

Clinical Topics: COVID-19 Hub

Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pandemics, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, Coronavirus Infections, Ambulatory Care Facilities, Health Personnel, Telemedicine, Heart Diseases

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