BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Western Kentucky Heart and Lung Research Foundation is conducting multi-part research on how COVID-19 is impacting certain areas of the healthcare system. One part is the effect of COVID-19 on acute heart attack victims.
This year in March and April, a majority of the patients with heart attacks that came into the Medical Center's ER waited longer to come in from the first onset of the symptoms, which is usually chest pain, according to Dr. Aniruddha Singh, Chairman of Western Kentucky Heart and Lung Research Foundation. These census numbers were compared to last year's.
Dr. Singh says people are waiting longer because they are scared to come to the ER for fear of catching COVID-19.
"Because of that, they're actually sicker just because they're waiting longer," Singh said. "So the message from that study we are trying to spread is, if any of our patients in the community are not feeling well - if they're having chest pain, if they're having symptoms of stroke - they need to alert their healthcare provider or call emergency services right away."
Another element of the study is looking at the social and the psychological impact that COVID-19 has on patients. The aim is to survey patients with COVID-19 who have been discharged from the hospital and to compare that to the patients who have been released from the intensive care unit, and assess the difference in the social and psychological impact.
"[The goal is] to see if patients who had COVID, are they getting more affected than the intensive care patients who have been discharged from the hospital? -- so that's one part of it," said Singh.
The study coincides with analyzing the caregiver's side as well. A lot of the patients that are leaving the hospital have to receive intensive care and there's a principal caregiver which is usually a family member. A survey will also go out to the caregiver for this portion of the study.
"We're trying to compare that to our routine standard ICU discharges," said Singh.
For more info on this study, read the other articles aboutplasma treating COVID-19 and how PPE is impacting healthcare workers emotionally and physically.