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World Heart Day: Why are more heart patients rushing to hospitals?

  • Published at 09:40 pm September 29th, 2021
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Patients were waiting for downtrend in Covid-19

The pressure of patients at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) increased alarmingly in August, hospital sources have said.

According to data from the hospital, an average of 1,200 people sought treatment at the outdoor unit of NICVD each day in August. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the highest number of patients treated at the outdoor unit on a single day was about 700.

The number of patients admitted to the hospital increased to 300 per day in August, while the pre-pandemic peak was about 200.

When asked about the sudden surge in heart patient numbers, experts said many people had avoided going to hospitals from fear of catching Covid-19. This fear was accentuated by reports that Covid-19 posed more risks for people with heart conditions.

Now that the Covid-19 infection and death rates are on the decline, many people with heart conditions are rushing back to hospitals for their first in-person check-ups in over a year.

Dr Mir Jamal Uddin, director of NICVD, said a patient once told him that he would rather die than brave Covid-19 to go to hospital.

“The patient had been following up with the hospital for a long time due to a heart blockage and later a coronary angioplasty surgery. Six months ago, he suffered from chest pains but availed health services over the phone instead of coming in,” the doctor said.

He added that the condition of many patients had deteriorated as they had delayed going to the hospital.

Doly Akhter, 53, suffered a heart attack in June last year and doctors at the time suggested surgery to remove the blockage. She finally came in for the procedure from Jessore on Monday.

“Some of my relatives died of Covid-19. The hospital might have had patients with both Covid and heart disease, so I did not come in until now,” she said.

Public health expert Dr Rashid-E-Mahbub, former president of the Bangladesh Medical Association, said the lifestyle of people had changed significantly in the last one and a half years. Changes in eating habits and a lack of physical activity had led to the uptick in heart disease.

“People have been consuming unhealthy, fatty foods from restaurants and hotels more. People are also more stressed and there is less opportunity to move around,” he added.

Bangladesh annually reports about 200,000 cardiac patients. About 30% of the total mortality in the country is due to heart disease.

Every year, over 17 million people die from heart disease. As a way of raising awareness about heart disease, the World Heart Federation designated a World Heart Day.

World Heart Day is celebrated on September 29 each year. More than 90 countries observe the day, and this year’s theme is “Take care of your heart with heart.”