Woman who could have cardiac arrest ‘at any point’ is ‘forgotten victim of pandemic’

Woman who could have cardiac arrest ‘at any point’ is ‘forgotten victim of pandemic’

 

A woman who could have a cardiac arrest at any point says she’s a ‘forgotten’ victim of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Fisher, 49, had a heart attack during lockdown and has since been diagnosed with heart failure.

In July she was told she needed to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted, which would shock her heart back into rhythm if it detects a potential cardiac arrest.

But she says three months on she is still waiting.

She says there are so many people who, like her, don’t have coronavirus yet their lives are at risk.

“I try not to get angry but it’s hard when some people are complaining about not being able to go for a drink and all I want to do is live,” she said.

Sarah, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire told the BBC : “I could have a cardiac arrest at any point, it is awful not knowing what is going to happen.

“I am on the urgent list – but the infection rates are rising and the clinics are closing – I don’t know when I will get it.

“There are so many people in my position – we don’t have Covid but our lives are at risk too. We are the forgotten victims of this pandemic.”

Speaking to the Press Association, she added: “I am so scared about having another heart attack or event while I wait for the ICD.

“I’m now at high risk of a life-threatening cardiac arrest and obviously very anxious.

“I was told I would have had the ICD by now if it wasn’t for the delays caused by Covid-19. However, although I’m on the urgent list for one, my cardiologist can’t give me any idea of when I will get it.

“Now that cases of Covid-19 are rising again, I’m just so worried how this might delay everything further. I’m still waiting for an appointment with an ICD specialist to discuss it and I feel like I’m in limbo.”

There has been a “concerning” rise in the number of under-65s dying from heart problems as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, a leading charity has warned.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said there has been a worrying rise in additional deaths from heart and circulatory diseases.

It urged people to seek medical help if they had any troubling symptoms.

The charity also said that maintaining cardiac services during a second peak of the pandemic should be a “priority” as delaying care for heart and circulatory problems can cause “avoidable harm”.

It said that the number of excess deaths could rise as the NHS faces the second surge of Covid-19 cases and usual winter pressures.

The charity has calculated that in the under-65s alone there has been more than 800 “excess” deaths from heart and circulatory problems since the start of the pandemic.

It analysed official mortality data for England and Wales to examine the number of deaths among heart patients, especially among those aged 65 and under.

It said that during the first peak of the pandemic there were almost 2,800 deaths in the under-65s where the underlying causes were heart and circulatory diseases – around 420 more deaths than expected for that period of the year.

Then between May and July almost 3,100 deaths were registered in this group – around 350 more deaths than expected for that period of the year.

There were no excess deaths seen in this group between January and March, the BHF added.

“We know there are tragic consequences of the pandemic for patients with heart and circulatory diseases, and these figures further highlight that delays in care are likely contributing to more deaths than we would expect to see otherwise,” said BHF associate medical director Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan.

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