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:
We will add further links here as they become available.
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 email@example.com
Advice for SCAD patients (19.3.20)
Dr David Adlam, UK SCAD expert, has provided the following information and advice for SCAD patients.
“Clearly it is a worrying time for many people at the moment and our thoughts are naturally with all our patients and friends in the SCAD-survivor community. At the moment Public Health England have not been very specific about what defines ‘people with underlying health issues’ and I think we will need to keep eyes and ears open in the coming days as advice becomes more specific. So the following advice is based on what we know currently and we need watch the advice closely in the coming days.
“There is of course no specific data on SCAD and very little specifics overall on risk. From what is understood at the moment, it is the frail elderly with multiple pre-existent medical problems who are most at risk. Patients with SCAD who are young but do have a prior medical condition which is stably managed will perhaps be at very slightly higher risk than people without health conditions but that risk will still be very low. It may be slightly higher again for those with impaired heart function (say an ejection fraction of less than 50%). The overwhelming likelihood though if you do catch the virus is that you will be poorly but ultimately just fine. So reasons to be sensibly careful.
“The advice for SCAD-survivors would be to:
- Keep taking your medications – there have been some questions about COVID-19 and ACE-inhibitors (drugs ending in –pril) and ARBs (drugs ending in –sartan). These are based on unsubstantiated theory and the advice from the experts is NOT TO STOP THESE MEDICATIONS IF YOU ARE PRESCRIBED THEM.
- Minimise non-essential social interactions and maintain social distance – there will be a spectrum of SCAD-survivors here from those with significant heart impairment or other health issues who would fall into the category of being advised to isolate to those with normal heart function taking no medications who can safely behave in the same way as the non-SCAD population. My instinct is that for most SCAD-survivors the measures recommended for the general population are adequate.
- Maintain good hand hygiene and minimise face-touching
“If you do become unwell, isolate (as per advice), 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. There is a little data to suggest this is a better option than ibuprofen.”