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09:00 AM

HeartValveSurgery.com: COVID-19 & Heart Valve Disease Webinar

HeartValveSurgery.com, a prominent heart health educational resource and online community for patients, recently featured cardiac surgeon Joanna Chikwe, MD, chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the Smidt Heart Institute, in a webinar. During the event, which garnered a record number of attendees for the platform, Chikwe reviewed the latest in COVID-19 research and how the disease impacts the heart.

Chikwe, who specializes in heart valve surgery, highlighted a recent Cedars-Sinai study, which found that the novel coronavirus may be able to directly infect the heart's cells. Published in Cell Reports Medicine, the research showed that heart muscle cells in a lab dish revealed changes in their ability to beat after 72 hours of infection.

During the webinar, Chikwe also discussed how patients can best manage heart valve disease during COVID-19, as well as safety protocols Cedars-Sinai has enacted. She urged patients to keep taking their prescribed medications during the pandemic and not to delay care because their heart condition could worsen.

“It’s really worth highlighting that valve disease is progressive, it's not static,” Chikwe said.

Patients should not avoid necessary in-person physician appointments for fear of catching the virus, Chikwe said, because delaying treatment for heart disease is more dangerous.

“Hospitals have implemented huge, huge changes to really improve safety and minimize your risk. Don’t wait to see your doctor,” Chikwe said. "COVID – if we take the right precautions – poses relatively low risk to most patients. Waiting for heart surgery poses a potentially higher risk.”

Click here to watch the complete webinar from HeartValveSurgery.com.