House Call: Learning Cardiovascular COVID-19 Risk from Italy, China


How cardiovascular experts have been communicating with international colleagues to inform local care response.

In recent weeks, B. Hadley Wilson, MD, has found himself and his colleagues in a critical point of public health care.

Though experts and clinicians across all specialties are tasked with responding to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect their patients, Wilson, Executive Vice Chair of Atrium Health Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute, and ACC Board of Trustees member and Chair of the Membership Committee, learned his patients were at the greatest risk of COVID-19 mortality.

That mortality rate, at the time when Wilson spoke to HCPLive®, was around 11% of all affected patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.

“One of the things that has been shocking is that patients with prior heart disease are the highest-risk category,” Wilson explained. “I’ve been surprised to learn it’s almost double the risk of those with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease.”

This rate, as well as expressed concerns as to which cardiovascular therapies are safe to continue use during the pandemic spread, led Wilson and colleagues to seek answers for its community. They turned to their peers overseas, well into the development of COVID-19 in their own countries.

In an interview with HCPLive, Wilson explained the benefit he and colleagues from the ACC have received from almost daily webinars and conference calls with experts in Italy- and China-based cardiology societies. Among the most pressing questions they’ve helped the US cardiologists manage are the best ways to treat heart disease in COVID-19 patients, and how soon to begin such therapies.

Wilson also discussed what’s being learned in real-time about how COVID-19 particularly affects patients with cardiovascular disease.

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