The problematic

Don’t wait! Call a doctor!

Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death worldwide. If you or someone you know is experiencing cardiac symptoms, seek medical care without delay. There is a much higher risk to delaying care than there is of contracting a severe form of COVID-19 in a controlled environment such as a hospital or doctor’s office.

A survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular health, conducted by the Instituto Cardiovascular de Buenos Aires (Argentina) with 6,000 patients during the first wave, showed that:

  • Close to 45% of patients thought it was their duty to avoid hospitals, and 55% would consult only if severe symptoms
  • Half of patients postponed a consultation, and 40% postponed all of their check-ups indefinitely.

Recognise the symptoms

Time is of the essence at the onset of acute heart conditions, and you should not be deterred from seeking medical help because of COVID-19. The longer you wait, the higher your risk of dying or having serious long-term complications. Here are just a few examples of when you should take quick action.

Sudden chest tightness or pain; worsening discomfort during effort.


Heart attack

Sudden numbness of the face, arm/leg; difficulty in speaking or understanding.



Swelling of the legs/ankles; very rapid weight gain from fluid retention.


Heart failure

Irregular palpitations or high heart rate (± weakness and dizziness).


Atrial fibrillation / Arrhythmia

Worsening shortness of breath during effort.


Valve disease

Maintain a healthy lifestyle!

The best way to reduce the risk of having an acute heart condition is to limit your food intake, lead a less sedentary life and increase your physical activity.

Remember it is also absolutely essential to maintain medical visits for chronic heart conditions. Consult the frequently asked questions for patients and families who are in doubt of what they should or shouldn’t be doing during the pandemic.

Read the F.A.Q.

Words from patients treated in the midst of the pandemic

Listen to two patients who underwent interventional cardiovascular procedures during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Verona (Italy). They both presented with severe aortic stenosis, and accepted to undergo TAVI, a minimally invasive procedure during which a new valve is inserted without removing the old, damaged valve. In these videos, their experience reminds us that whatever the circumstances, it is essential to get immediate medical advice when in the slightest doubt about one’s health.

"I was never worried about coming to hospital"

92-year-old Ettore is delighted to once again be able to do his own shopping. In 2019, 25 years after undergoing heart surgery, he became increasingly short of breath, despite medication and a brief respite. When his health worsened further during the first wave of COVID-19, he had no hesitation in having his aortic valve replaced by TAVI.

"I never imagined such a fast recovery"

When she found out she had severe aortic stenosis, Tiziana, an active family doctor herself, knew she had to act quickly, even though hospitals were facing the worse of the pandemic. In this interview filmed the day after she underwent TAVI, she explains that the risk of contracting COVID never crossed her mind.

Help We CARE reach out to your local community!

Would you like to help us encourage current and potential patients to recognise that their cardiovascular care must come first, even in times of a pandemic? Please feel free to share the following visuals and documents on social media tagging #WeCareAboutHearts, or print them out to distribute among your family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues. We can all make a difference to someone’s life.

Download our tools and share the message around you!

All resources

Key visual


Social media gif


Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac patients infographics


Patient leaflet


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