For those with pre-existing heart conditions, a COVID-19 diagnosis can sometimes mean the difference between recovery and fatality.
As the leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease has affected over 18.2 million adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.) As a risk factor for morbidity with COVID-19, those with heart disease are facing substantially greater odds in having complications from coronavirus. Shown to weaken the heart muscles, as well as creating issues in breathing, COVID is disproportionately affecting those with underlying heart conditions at an alarming rate.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been monitoring reports of heart-related COVID complications since the beginning of the pandemic to authorize new uses of products, helping in the fight against the virus.
More choices to combat heart failure and decrease practitioner risk
Leaning heavily on measures put in place during the COVID-19 crisis, the FDA is utilizing its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) protocols to efficiently approve devices for life-saving functions to save American lives. With an ever-growing list of EUAs currently in place, the FDA is adding to its arsenal against coronavirus, one product at a time.
Earlier this month, the FDA rolled out a new EUA for the emergency use of the Eko electrocardiogram (ECG) Low Ejection Fraction Tool (“ELEFT”). Slotted to help with underlying cardiac conditions, the diagnostic tool can help screen for potential complications as well as address issues with declining cardiac health due to the coronavirus.
This artificial intelligence device, offered by Caption Heath, offers practitioners the ability to see cardiac imaging without training, giving those on the front lines access to tools that lead to better decision-making. According to FierceBiotech, the device “can help more front-line hospital staff conduct exams on their own, reducing exposures to sonography personnel.”
Some approvals while others stall
Breaking with President Trump, the FDA stressed that healthcare professionals should use caution when using treatments like hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine as they were not determined safe. Proven in some studies to cause heart conditions, the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are being heavily monitored. In a statement, the FDA shared that they were “aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin and other QT prolonging medicines.”
In fact, a study just published in The Lancet found that patients treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine faced an increased risk of death or heart issues, which may further delay the treatment from FDA approval.
For those with pre-existing heart conditions, a COVID-19 diagnosis can sometimes mean the difference between recovery and fatality. With new research underway every day, the FDA and CDC continue to monitor the crisis, risk factors and solutions.