Navigation Menu Icon

Heart Valve Disease and Covid-19

In light of some recent valve disease treatment cancellations we feel it important to say a few words on COVID-19, what impact it could have on heart valve disease patients and what you can do to limit your risk of infection.

COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. With the number of cases in the UK set to increase, hospitals have begun preparation for a potential increase in patients. In some cases, this means the cancellation of non-emergency operations to reduce the strain on staffing and beds. Chris Young, Heart Valve Voice Chairman and Cardiac Surgeon at St Thomas Hospital said “It is important to understand that while some elective operating may cease there will always be procedures in place to recognise and cater for urgent patients. “

Waiting for Treatment

If you are due to have surgery you should continue to prepare for it unless told otherwise by your clinician.

If your surgery is rescheduled for a later date you should monitor your symptoms closely. If your symptoms get worse and you begin to feel unwell you should report to your GP, call your valve clinic or in severe cases go to A&E.

Post Treatment

Patients who have recently had a procedure have an increased risk of infection due to cuts and incisions offering greater exposure to germs. The normal risk of infection for heart valve disease patients is low, but in the current climate you should take every extra measure to limit your risk of infection. If you do begin to feel unwell contact your clinician or call 101.

You should also continue with your recommended rehab routine whilst being sure to make every effort to limit your exposure to infection. Contact your valve clinic if you have any concerns.

General Advice

For all of us, we should follow the NHS recommendations on how to limit the spread of the virus, as listed below:

  • Wash your hands often - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.

Heart valve disease is caused by either wear, disease or damage of one or more of the heart’s valves, affecting the flow of blood through the heart.