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Managing Heart Failure Symptoms During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Danielle Lewan

Published: June 8, 2023

Without question, the Pandemic has created great upheaval in almost every aspect of our lives. One of the most concerning consequences is that many patients are too afraid to go to the hospital for life saving treatment – even in the midst of a heart attack – for fear of contracting COVID-19. For heart failure patients in particular, they are not presenting themselves promptly at the first signs of heart failure and, as a result, arrive at the hospital in far worse condition, often too late to benefit from live-saving treatment.

Heart failure patients should NOT be avoiding medical care because of COVID-19

On March 13, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. In the 10 weeks that followed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that hospital emergency department visits declined by 23% for heart attacks, 20% for strokes and 10% for uncontrolled high blood sugar in people with diabetes. According to the CDC, people with conditions such as congestive heart failure (failure of the heart to pump blood effectively), coronary artery disease (blocked arteries) and cardiomyopathies (weakening, thinning and/or thickening of the heart muscle) also lead to more severe cases of COVID-19.

Dr. Mitchell Elkind, president of the American Heart Association, said “the danger is twofold: delayed heart failure treatment increases the risk of death, while survivors can face a diminished quality of life.” The longer people wait to receive treatment, the more sick a patient becomes.

What many patients do not grasp is that the risk of dying of a heart attack because of delayed intervention is much greater than the threat of COVID-19.

In-home health monitoring has increased benefits for heart failure patients

Though lockdown has been a way to prevent spreading of the COVID-19 virus, it has also made regular follow-up visits to the hospital more complicated. The inability for doctors and caregivers to monitor disease progression has been a tremendous challenge, sometimes with deadly consequences.

The need for reliable in-home health monitoring technology has never been greater.

Casana’s vision is to build effortless, in-home health monitoring devices that support proactive heart health. Casana’s development of the Heart Seat™ is meant to be a tool for heart failure patients to capture vital trends from sensors such as ECG, BCG, and PPG through daily monitoring, all through the simple act of sitting on a toilet seat. The seat allows care providers and doctors to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely and manage their congestive heart failure, while the patient remains comfortable at home.

Our goal at Casana is to develop technologies that allow patients to no longer have to choose between risk of infection and seeking treatment when needed. The Heart Seat™ strives to keep patients safe – and monitored – at the same time. This is a big step towards the future of home health care and will hopefully continue to remain front and center even when the risks of catching a deadly virus have passed.

A reminder that in-home health monitoring does not replace emergency care. If you are having heart, stroke or other symptoms you should get help immediately at your local hospital.