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Elective cardiac surgeries amid COVID19 pandemic

Coronavirus is a matter of public health concern in India. Patients requiring elective surgeries such as Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or valve repair/replacement, tend to delay them as they fear of getting infected with the coronavirus. But, doing so can be life-threatening for the patients and they may also develop complications while on waitlist for surgery. If you have been advised to undergo elective cardiac surgery then speak to your doctor and after taking appropriate COVID 19 precautions you can undergo open heart surgery safely. 

India is reeling under Coronavirus. To curb the spread of COVID19,we followed lockdown. By doing so we borrowed time to develop and strengthen our existing medical services. Now, the GOI has started to unlock and the state government has lifted more restrictions in this stage, though it said non-essential activities in Mumbai will still continue to be restricted owing to the continued surge in the number of COVID19 cases. Many patients are anxiously waiting for their elective heart surgeries, which are resuming slowly. Elective cardiac surgery means regular cardiac surgery like routine CABG, valve repair/replacement. Those patients suffering from heart diseases such as coronary artery disease heart valve problems. Because of the pandemic, patients requiring these surgeries are anxious of getting an infection so they are avoiding surgeries and inturn they are at constant risks for developing various complications including risks to life.

The coronavirus killed tens of thousands in the United States during the pandemic’s first months, but it also left a lesser-known toll: thousands of more deaths than would have been expected from heart disease and a handful of other medical conditions, according to an analysis of federal data by The Washington Post. The analysis suggests that in five hard-hit states and New York City there were 8,300 more deaths from heart problems than would have been typical in March, April and May, an increase of roughly 27 percent over historical averages. The review suggests that many patients suffering from serious conditions lost their lives as a result of delaying or not seeking care as the outbreak progressed and swamped some hospitals. The danger of not getting care is greater than the danger of getting exposed to the virus.

Now, elective surgeries have resumed

By giving priority to the health of the patients, the hospitals have started doing elective surgeries. “We have started operating from 1st June, and we are operating 3 to 4 surgeries per week with all the necessary covid19 precautions. We want to give a message to people waiting for heart surgery depending on the severity of their disease the surgery should be carried out under most covid19 care protocols.,” said Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre.

Ensure all the necessary precautions

Many Hospitals in Mumbai have started doing routine surgeries by adhering to the COVID-19 protocol. Visitors' entry is restricted in the hospital. 
Ask the patients and visitors to use masks/ cloth barriers for themselves. 
Ensure that all the healthcare workers who are encountering patients use masks in hospitals as mandatory. 
Hand sanitizers are being offered to all the patients and their attendees’ entering the hospital. All are being made to follow social distancing. 
Regular cleaning and disinfection of all the high touch areas are ensured. All medical equipment used is regularly disinfected. All the medical staff attending to patients is wearing their personal protective equipment. 

Takeaway: With due precautions the chances of getting infection during elective heart surgery is less than the risk if you don't undergo your heart surgery.


Dr. Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre,

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