Cardiac Critical Care Delivery Modifications During COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress the workforce, health care systems and critical resource supply and distribution chains, critical care cardiologists are well positioned to treat the respiratory and cardiovascular complications of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and to support clinicians with limited training in caring for critically ill patients, according to an article published April 15 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Jason N. Katz, MD, MHS, et al., describe experiences of colleagues working in regions heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and lessons learned from military mass casualty medicine in order to offer suggestions for implementing scalable models for critical care delivery, developing educational tools for team training and embracing technologies to enable collaboration despite social distancing requirements.

The recommendations focus on strategies for cardiac intensive care units (CICU) workforce and staffing reorganization, potential hospital-level adaptations to new care pathways, regional medical collaboration, effective triage and distributive justice, methods for education and training, and suggestions for leveraging telemedicine to enhance critical care.

"In response [to COVID-19], we need to be committed, cohesive, and innovative in order to optimize care efficiency, ensure provider safety, and improve patient outcomes," write the authors. "Critical care cardiologists must familiarize themselves with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its numerous clinical manifestations. Its unique cardiovascular presentations and devastating cardiac sequalae will likely lead many patients into CICU beds. Furthermore, critical care cardiologists may find themselves leaving their CICUs in order to staff non-cardiac and COVID-19-specific settings."

Keywords: Triage, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Critical Care, Intensive Care Units, Telemedicine


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