With the recent developments of COVID-19, Heart Valve Voice Canada and its Board of Directors believe it is important to share the following information, specifically regarding what heart valve disease patients should be aware of during this time.
COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways and is caused by a virus called coronavirus. Individuals with cardiovascular disease including valvular heart disease are more vulnerable to respiratory disease such as flu or COVID-19, although there remains some uncertainty on what damage COVID-19 can cause in these individuals. In patients with cardiovascular disease, the risk of serious cardiac complications or death is approximately 3 times higher than in the patients with no cardiovascular disease. It is important to note that the risk of complications and mortality increases with age (>60 y.o), which is why taking every precaution to prevent COVID-19 is highly important for patients with valvular heart disease.
If you are currently scheduled for surgery, you should continue to prepare for it unless your health care team tells you otherwise. With cases in Canada increasing, it is possible that non-emergency operations may be cancelled to increase capacity within the health care system to treat patients with COVID-19 infection. If your surgery is rescheduled, continue to monitor your symptoms closely and report to your health care team if they worsen. If you are experiencing a severe health situation call 911.
Patients who have recently undergone surgery or transcatheter valve intervention may have an increased risk of infection due to great exposure to germs within the hospital and to alteration of immune system. Patients should continue with their regular rehab routine while taking the necessary steps to limit the risk of infection. If you begin to feel ill contact your doctor or call 911.
Several individuals with valvular heart disease also take anti-hypertensive medications such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers. Some information has circulated on the internet stating that these medications may increase the risk of infection or the extent of cardiac damage with COVID-19. There is no scientific evidence to support this statement. If you are on this medication, you should not stop taking it unless your doctor advises you to do so.
To help limit the spread of the virus:
For additional information and updates on COVID-19, visit the Government of Canada’s webpages here: