Bengaluru sees more heart attacks as Covid-19 pandemic bites

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Doctors have reported a 30% surge in heart attack cases in Bengaluru in the last two months, possibly related to factors like mental stress, economic difficulties, sedentary lifestyle, bad diet and other challenges imposed by the lockdown.

Many of the patients have also been delaying hospital visits due to fear of contracting Covid-19 and therefore having a complicated course of recovery due to lack of timely treatment.

Dr Sreekanth Shetty, Interventional Cardiology, Sakra World Hospital, said, “As mental stress, frustration and insecurities among people rise due to financial anxiety, job loss, salary cuts, unregulated working hours, etc., we are witnessing a surge in heart attack cases. This is due to pandemic-induced stress on people.”

He said there was a disproportionate rise in heart attack-related hospitalisations. In fact, there has been a 30% increase in the number of such patients coming for treatment in August and September, compared to the same period last year. While heart patients are still shying away from elective procedures, admissions in the emergency ward have risen for heart ailments, he added.

Lack of exercise

The neglect of health and poor exercise regimen during the pandemic have compounded the problems. 

“The young patients that we have seen were all fit individuals who exercised regularly and had no history of cardiac problems,” said Dr K P Srihari Das, senior interventional cardiologist, Manipal Hospital, Jayanagar.

He also said there was a 30% rise in the number of heart attacks the hospital was treating. “We feel the main reason is the extremely high level of stress with increased work hours, especially in the IT sector. Job insecurity combined with neglect of health has added to it. Also, the closure of gyms and sports arenas.”

Dr  Srikanth K V, senior consultant, Adult Cardiology and Heart Failure, Narayana Health City, said the hospital was seeing as many heart attack cases as it used to before the pandemic. “Per day, we would treat three to four such cases before the outbreak. During the pandemic, it dipped. Now, we are back to those numbers. Individuals would suffer financial burden over reasons like inability to complete construction of their house, and stress over higher bills,” he said.

Dr C N Manjunath, director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, said there was 35% dip in the number of hospital admissions compared to pre-Covid days. But mortality has shot up by 4%.

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