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Australians staying at home with life-threatening heart attack

22 May 2020

New research from Austin Health and the University of Melbourne has found that patients with heart attack symptoms are waiting up to four times longer to present to hospital since the COVID pandemic began.

Dr Matias Yudi, an Interventional Cardiologist with Austin Health, said the research, published in European Heart Journal this month, analysed more than 120 patients and showed a dangerous trend. 

“We looked at all of the patients who had heart attacks since the social distancing measures came into effect and compared them with patients presenting during the same four-week period for the last seven years,” Dr Yudi said. 

“Patients with heart attacks are staying at home for an average of six extra hours before coming to hospital since the COVID pandemic started.” 

“These delays can be life threatening for some patients.” 

“People with chest pain and other symptoms of heart attack need to come to hospital as quickly as possible so that we can give them the medical care they require. 

“Anecdotally we have seen and heard about patients delaying treatment due to concerns over coronavirus.  

“Now, for the first time, we have data showing that Australians are putting themselves at risk by not seeking medical attention with these life-threatening heart attacks,” he said.   

Dr Yudi warned time is a critical factor when it comes to treating patients who are having a heart attack.  

“The very simple message here is that patients need to come to hospital as soon as possible if they have symptoms suggestive of a heart attack!” he said. 

“We know that the length of time between the onset of heart attack symptoms and treatment has an enormous influence on the patient’s recovery. The more time it takes, the worse the outcome is for the patient,” he said. 

“We want everyone to keep following the Government’s advice and maintain social distancing but it’s vital that patients come to us for emergency care when they need it,” Dr Yudi said. 

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