Barts Health new screening programme for patients requiring urgent cardiac care during Covid

Clinicians have been able to safely see patients deemed high-risk for elective treatment through a new screening programme established 5-weeks ago.

Now that the risk of travelling to hospital is greater, the screening programme allows those patients that require urgent cardiac care to balance the risks and benefits of coming to hospital for a procedure.

The programme is led by the advanced care practitioners and physiology team at the Barts Health Centre.

More than 170 patients have so far received vital care, according to the trust.

Angiograms, device fittings and trans-catheter aortic valve implantations are some of the procedures that have been undertaken, across a range of specialities.

According to the trust, before being admitted, a patient receives a call at home to discuss the benefit of having their procedure against the risk of possible exposure to Covid.

If a decision has been made for the patient to undergo treatment, they are asked to self-isolate for 2-weeks.

48-hours before the patient’s procedure, he/she is contacted to check they are not displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

Visitors are not to be brought with the patient and clinicians explain that they will be discharged at the earliest safest opportunity.

Upon arrival to the hospital, patients are checked for Covid-19 through measuring temperature and asked to wear a surgical mask.

Gordon Mills, senior nurse for interventional cardiology and electrophysiology at Barts Heart Centre said: 

“screening patients in a robust way before they are admitted has allowed us to bring those deemed as high-risk and in need of urgent care into hospital and treat them safely.”

“Putting a programme like this in place is no small feat and I’m really proud of how flexible, hardworking and patient-focussed the entire cardiology team has been during this time. We could not have done it without them.”

The progress of each patient post-procedure is followed closely by the team, including regular checks to see if they are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19. 

So far, none of the near 200 patients that have been through the programme have tested positive for the virus.