Harold Dauerman, M.D., Professor of Medicine, UVM Larner College of Medicine (Photo: David Seaver)
Amid the rise in COVID-19 cases and continuing strain on health care workers and the economy, an alarming statistic – a sharp decrease in heart attack-related hospital admissions – thrust cardiologists, including University of Vermont Professor Harold Dauerman, M.D., into unprecedented action.
On April 20, Dauerman and other representatives of the American College of Cardiology, American College of Emergency Physicians and Society of Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions, issued a joint statement, titled “Management of Acute Myocardial Infarction During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The statement was published early online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Just five weeks ago, as hospitals across the U.S. were only beginning to see a drop in cardiac cases, Dauerman and colleagues began drafting the guidance to help clinicians make decisions about treatment alternatives for heart attack patients in the environment of the novel coronavirus pandemic. After successful review by national guideline committees, they had an approved document that provides “a systematic approach for the care of patients with an acute myocardial infarction during the COVID19 pandemic.”
“There is a lot of information in the press and social media regarding COVID-19 and myocardial infarction, and many of the messages are confusing, contradictory or even a bit scary to cardiologists and cardiac patients,” said Dauerman. “We felt there was a need for a single consistent clear message representing best practice standards from three national societies.”
Dauerman, an international expert in coronary and structural heart interventions, ischemic heart disease, and regional networks for acute myocardial infarction, is an editorial board member for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions, and former editor in chief of Coronary Artery Disease. He and the statement’s authors created the document to provide suggestions for educating the public about efforts to minimize exposure to coronavirus, and outline protocols for addressing patient care from multiple angles; for using appropriate personal protection equipment; for working with emergency departments, Emergency Medical System and the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory; and for regional systems of care for severe heart attacks.