Beat SCAD has received many questions about SCAD and COVID-19.
Patients who have had a SCAD range from those with normal or near-normal heart function, to those with health conditions such as diabetes and heart failure. The government advice for at-risk patients has caused some confusion among SCAD patients in terms of whether they are in the ‘vulnerable’ category.
Below is some information that should help answer some of the questions. Ultimately each patient needs to take into consideration their own health when making decisions based on government and NHS advice.
Please scroll to the bottom of the page for advice from UK SCAD expert Dr David Adlam.
Where to find information
Please take your guidance from official/reputable sources only.
Shielding, social distancing and self-isolation
Advice on social distancing applies to every single person. We are facing an unprecedented situation and we need to do all we can to reduce the spread of the virus and help our NHS cope with the demand.
Shielding: To arrange for special food and medication deliveries etc (using https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable) you should be recognised as a ‘shielded’ vulnerable person with – in most cases – a letter from the government to confirm that you and those around you must stay in for at least 12 weeks.
If you have someone who can shop for you, this service is probably not appropriate for you.
Beat SCAD supports the principle of leaving Government assistance for those shielded vulnerable people who have no access to friends/family/support groups.
- Shielding is for your personal protection. It is your choice to decide whether to follow the measures the government advises.
- If you think you are extremely vulnerable and you have not received a letter from the government about shielding or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss your concerns with your GP.
- Try to get help from others before asking for government assistance. If you do not want to leave your house, and do not have family, friends or neighbours able to help you, find out if there is a community volunteer group in your area that can assist. These are being co-ordinated by GPs, Mutual Aid Assistance groups and local councils.
If you see information on social media, please check the source before liking or sharing. False information spreads quickly on social media and increases anxiety and uncertainty.
How to talk to our children about coronavirus
Wellbeing and mental health
Beat SCAD will do all we can to help support SCAD patients, families and friends.
SCAD support webinars
Vicky Bailey, who had a SCAD in May 2019, is a psychotherapist and coach. She is very kindly doing some free webinars for SCAD patients focusing on such as gratitude, anxiety, journalling and being mindful.
You can view them at the links below:
UK/Ireland patients who use Facebook can join the SCAD UK & Ireland Survivors group
Friends and family can join the SCAD Friends and Family Support Group
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice for SCAD patients (Update 4.11.20)
COVID-19 (the CORONAVIRUS) and SCAD
First and foremost we would like to send our very best wishes to everyone in the SCAD-community, their friends and families. It has been a challenging time for us all as we enter a new phase of the pandemic with lockdown-2.
Here is some further advice which we hope will help questions from patients with SCAD, their family and friends.
Keep your eye on the advice issued by Public Health England both nationally and for your local area. For most SCAD-survivors (who do not have other major health issues and who have normal or near normal heart function), the risk of complications arising from the COVID-19 infection is likely to be very close to people who have not had SCAD. This is distinct from the high risk patients (the elderly and those with multiple or severe health problems) who are in the higher risk ‘shielding’ group. Therefore most SCAD patients are low-risk and it is appropriate to follow the advice for the general population.
- Keep taking your medications. There have been a few inevitable scare stories about some drugs but these are unproven and in the case of ACE-inhibitors (drugs ending in –pril) and ARBs (drugs ending in –sartan), there is good evidence that they are FALSE.
- Face-coverings should be worn as per government guidelines but also consider wearing in public places, particularly if you are likely to come within 2 metres of other people.
- Maintain good hand hygiene and minimise face-touching
From the perspective of employment, at the time of writing (lockdown-2), current advice is that you should work from home if you can. If this is not possible, all employers should be taking measures appropriate to limiting social contacts and protecting employees with prior health problems. Do not be embarrassed to make your employer or occupational health team aware you have had a SCAD. In most cases this will not change the measures that need to be taken and you will simply need to follow good practice as for the general population.
There will be a small group of SCAD-survivors who either have additional health problems or who have sustained significant heart damage at the time of their SCAD and have reduced heart function. These patients may have received a shielding letter from their GP or a letter from their cardiologist or the SCAD team. These patients should continue to follow the advice for people shielding which at the time of writing is to take ‘extra caution’ but not to isolate. However do watch carefully for changes as the situation evolves.
We remain happy to give individualised advice. Please use the SCAD information email (SCAD Mailbox SCAD@uhl-tr.nhs.uk)
If you do become unwell, isolate (as per advice) and contact NHS 111 or the online NHS 111 service. Stay warm and hydrated and use paracetamol as per the packet guidelines on dose (presuming you do not take this already in other preparations) to control fever.
Dr Dave Adlam and the SCAD team