The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) wants to ensure that heart failure patients are appropriately informed during the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. We have a lot to learn about COVID-19 and currently there are several ongoing clinical trials to discover therapies that might help treat the infection and vaccines that can prevent the infection. The HFSA and other scientific institutions are working hard, with our patients in mind, to get through this pandemic as quickly as possible.
What to Do if You're Experiencing Symptoms
COVID-19 symptoms vary among infected people and can include cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, profound fatigue, loss of sense of smell and taste, and diarrhea. Not every infected person will have symptoms which is why social distancing is imperative. Most people have only mild symptoms, but others have severe symptoms that require hospitalization and occasionally intensive care. Because you are a patient with a heart failure, you are at higher risk of getting very sick if you contract Coronavirus and, therefore, it is important to practice good hand hygiene, social distancing, and staying at home as much as possible.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please call your primary healthcare clinician. For your safety and the safety of others, and to reduce potential exposures to the Coronavirus, please do not go to an urgent care clinic or emergency room for non-urgent or non-emergency issues unless you have been instructed to do so by your primary healthcare clinician. However, if you have life-threatening symptoms like difficulty breathing, call 911. We want to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus as much as possible and make sure our healthcare resources are not overwhelmed with non-urgent cases.
How to Take Care of Your Health During These Times
You may have noticed that your healthcare clinicians have converted your in-person appointments to telephone or video calls, and some hospitals are not allowing visitors. The goal is to keep patients from contracting the Coronavirus and to limit the number of healthcare workers in the hospital. If you are sick and need to be seen or get lab testing, you should still do so; otherwise, you can help by
- Learning how to use your smartphone or computer to participate in telehealth video visits
- Keeping track of missed visits and studies and working with your team to reschedule them once social distancing measures are relaxed
Also, do not stop any of your medications unless instructed by your healthcare team to do so. It is important that you have an adequate supply of your heart failure medications and that you request extended duration of supplies and refills from your providers during these times.
Finally, we recommend that you get your information from trusted, professional healthcare sources including national societies like the HFSA, federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control, and your local hospitals and health departments. Please access updated patient information on the HFSA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center.
We wish you safety and health during this challenging time.