A new study confirms that more than 40 percent of Americans are not seeking treatment for serious medical conditions like heart attacks and strokes due to fear of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The study, published by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, found that people were more comfortable going to the beach, hair salon, or concert rather than going to a hospital.
Not all people decide to wait. Jim Woodard, from Brooklyn, knew he couldn’t wait when he started to experience palpations in his chest. “It was just very clear this was something I needed to do, and I needed to do it quickly,” Woodard says.
He found his way to NYU Langone’s Heart Rhythm Center and—after a series of tests—received a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and had a catheter ablation to correct his irregular heart rhythm.
Doctors urge patients to act quickly—like Woodard did—if they experience serious symptoms.
“If we get to patients having heart attacks, get to patients having arrhythmias within minutes as opposed to days, we can make a substantial impact upon mortality—literally can save lives by intervening early,” says Larry A. Chinitz, MD, director of the Heart Rhythm Center.
Dr. Chinitz reassures patients that “the healthcare system has taken this very seriously from the beginning. And we have, in fact, created a healthy and safe environment. In many ways, hospitals can be amongst the safest places to be right now.”
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