The New York Times (*1) wrote an interesting article, which poses the question: “Where have all the heart attacks gone?” This column discusses the fact that since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been between 40% – 60% reduction in admission for heart attacks, as reported in a survey in the USA. Mention is made of the fact that this reduction is not just apparent in the USA, but also in many hospitals across the world in which, aside from the COVID-19 admission, there are many empty hospital beds. In England, to corroborate this, the New Statesman (*2) reports that:
“…..there has been a 50 per cent drop in the number of people attending A & E with suspected heart attacks, according to hospital data, analysed by the British Heart Foundation.”
A similar trend can be seen in hospitals across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The reason behind this trend appears to be that if you are experiencing a heart attack at home, you may well be unwilling to take up NHS time, which is very precious amid the COVID-19 outbreak, or you may be frightened of contracting COVID-19 by visiting a hospital. One could argue that the message from the Government during the initial stage of COVID-19’s presence was to stay at home; to which message, many people complied. Thankfully the new messaging from No. 10 Downing Street has changed to urge people to actively seek healthcare for non-Coronavirus related illness, whether it is a heart attack, stroke, cancer, appendicitis, or a gall-bladder attack.
Regrettably, if people are not alerting the hospital of their symptoms, should it be a heart attack, 50 per cent of people will die, and those who live, may have to suffer permanent and lasting damage to their cardiac muscle, or blockage to an artery. Once again, there is no doubt that the fear of COVID-19 has greatly affected the UK population, as a whole. However, the NHS England (*3) has identified:
“cardiovascular disease as a clinical priority”
As such, the NHS England’s aspiration is to help avert 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementias over the next ten years through a combined voluntary and community sector approach. Of course, with COVID-19 now present, there will need to be a rigorous educational programme established to counter the over-riding feelings of angst about the Coronavirus, which is preventing people from contacting and accessing healthcare, when they are suffering from an emergency medical need. Emergencies, such as, a heart attack can occur at home, on transport, with family and friends, or at work and is so unexpected that many people don’t even realise what is happening to them. This is why undergoing a training course, which explains in detail what the symptoms are and how to deal with them is invaluable.
At Staff Defence Ltd, we provide a fully-accredited Emergency First Aid at Work (Highfield) training course, which you will find very empowering and extremely useful. This course covers a range of emergency situations in which you may find yourself, whether it is at work or at home, and it includes heart attacks, cardiac arrests, strokes, epileptic fits, burns, cuts, fractures etc. What our course will do is give you the confidence to react appropriately in any emergency scenario, and best of all, it may help you to save a person’s life. If you wish to become a potential life-saver, please take a look at our website and review our Emergency First Aid at Work (Highfield) training course, as below:-
(*1). Where Have All the Heart Attacks Gone? Harlan M. Krumholz (6th April 2020) New York Times.
(*2). The Quiet Crisis of Britain’s Missing Patients A. Chakelian & M. Goodier (April 2020) New Statesman.
(*3). Cardiovascular Disease https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/clincal-policy/cvd