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Cardiovascular Questions & Answers

Q: Are patients with Afib more at risk of getting COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus)? 

According to the American College of Cardiology, 10.5% of people (about 1 in 10) who died from coronavirus had a cardiovascular condition.

To put this into perspective, the ACC highlights these statistics about deaths due to COVID-19:

  • 8% were patients 70-79 years old and 14.8% were patients older than 80 years old.

  • Death in patients who were also diagnosed with:

    • Cancer: 5.6%

    • Hypertension: 6.0%

    • Chronic respiratory disease: 6.3%

    • Diabetes: 7.3%

Q: Will taking anticoagulants increase my risk of getting Covid-19?

According to the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis:

  • Taking an anticoagulant will not increase your risk of getting COVID-19. 

  • However, if you have an underlying condition, treatment of that condition may cause your body's immune system to be suppressed. That suppression could increase your risk of getting COVID-19.

Please continue to take your anticoagulant as prescribed, and speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have about your prescribed medications. 

Q3 - If I go to the hospital to get treated, will I just get infected by COVID-19 there?

If you are ill and this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1.

A delay in treatment may only make your illness worse. As the Mount Sinai doctors reported, a previously healthy 33-year-old woman “delayed seeking emergency care because of fear of Covid-19” and by the time.” When she was admitted to hospital, her National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) was 19 (a score of 16 or more forecasts a high probability of death or severe disability whereas a score of less than or equal to 6 forecasts a good recovery). Thankfully, she was treated and discharged to a rehabilitation facility.

Q: I hear that an anticoagulant thins my blood. Could I bleed to death?

According to David A. Garcia, MD (Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology,

University of Washington School of Medicine) and Mark Crowther, MD, MSc (Professor of Medicine and Pathology & Molecular Medicine, St Joseph’s Hospital and McMaster University), taking an anticoagulant increases the risk of bleeding to some degree.

However, the latest guidelines from the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Heart Rhythm Society in Collaboration With the Society of Thoracic Surgeons recommend non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs) to prevent stroke in Afib patients. Examples of non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs) - dabigatran (Pradaxa®), rivaroxaban (Xarelto®), apixaban (Eliquis®).

NOACs are recommended over warfarin to prevent stroke in patients with Afib:

NOACs – including dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban and edoxaban – are now the preferred recommended drug class over warfarin to reduce stroke risk in appropriate AFib patients, unless patients have moderate-to-severe mitral stenosis or a mechanical heart valve.

Q: I can’t afford my prescription. What can I do?

For information on programs that may be of help to you afford your prescription, please go to https://www.needymeds.org/

For specific drugs you may be taking, please go to the pharmaceutical site; for example, if you are on Eliquis, BMS may be able to provide patient assistance. Here is the link - https://www.bmspaf.org/#home

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