Information & Advice for Arrhythmia Patients
With the global spread of coronavirus, the media has begun using new words in relation to the pandemic. The following terms have been compiled to help your understanding in regards to the coronavirus and arrhythmias.
Arrhythmia: The medical term for an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm.
Anticoagulant: A group of drugs help to slow down the clotting process in blood and prevent AF-related stroke.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF): A common heart rhythm disorder that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.
Coronaviruses: The family of viruses that include SARS and MERS. These two viruses have been present in the environment for some time and SARS virus maybe familiar as it caused an outbreak in 2003. This group of viruses can cause serious symptoms in the airways and lungs.
SARS-CoV-2: The official name given to the virus which causes COVID-19. This stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. It’s different to the SARS virus of 2003.
COVID-19: The name given to describe the current pandemic respiratory disease caused by SARS-Cov-2. It stands for coronavirus disease 2019, which is a new coronavirus strain originating from China.
Comorbidity: The term used when you have more than one health condition. They do not necessarily have to be related.
Coughing: To expel air from the lungs with a sudden sharp sound. Coughing for more than an hour or struggling with three or more severe coughing episodes in 24 hours combined with a high temperature is recognised as one of the main symptoms of COVID-19.
Flattening the Curve: The term used to explain slowing the spread of the virus to reduce the peak number of cases and ease the demands on the NHS and the intensive care units.
Incubation Period: The period between catching the virus and presenting with symptoms. For coronavirus this is usually five days, but it is acknowledged it can be up to 14 days.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The equipment a health and social worker wears to protect themselves from the risks to their health through catching and spreading the infection.
Quarantine: Restricting the movement of people and/or animals. During this pandemic, it will help limit interactions with individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 but show no symptoms. This will help to keep everyone safe.
Respiratory: The system responsible for breathing, taking in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. The mouth, throat, lungs and airways are part of the system. Respiratory symptoms can include a runny nose, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat.
Self-Isolation: Avoiding contact with everyone should one or someone in a household develop symptoms of coronavirus. If one has symptoms, they need to remain at home for seven days from the start of the symptoms. If someone in the home develops symptoms, then they need to remain at home for 14 days regardless of how you feel.
Shielding: Remaining in the house and avoiding contact with others if one is identified as at high risk of a severe response to the virus. In the extremely vulnerable group, you will receive a letter from the NHS.
Social Distancing: Reducing contact with other people, working from home if possible and avoiding all gatherings. This is particularly important for vulnerable and extremely vulnerable individuals and those living with them. It also means staying at least two metres (six feet) apart from others if you do go out for essential activities.
Syncope: The medical term for a blackout or loss of consciousness caused by an insufficient blood supply to the brain.
Telehealth: Telehealth is a delivery of health-related services provided to a patient through technology, i.e. phone, computer or tablet. This service allows patients to speak with their healthcare professionals from any location. With telehealth there is no need to physically attend a face-to-face appointment with a physician, nurse or specialist; instead the healthcare provider will schedule an audio or video appointment with the patient. Telehealth prevents patients from having to visit physician clinics or hospitals in person, protecting them from illnesses, viruses and reduces their risk of infecting others.
Ventilating: Using a ventilator helps a patient breathe by pumping air in and out of the lungs if they are experiencing severe difficulty in breathing. It is not always used for COVID-19 patients.
A Vulnerable and Extremely Vulnerable Person: Those considered at increased risk of severe illness from the virus. The vulnerable are aged 70 years and over, possibly with an underlying health condition or a pregnant person. An extremely vulnerable person is deemed to be at very high risk of severe illness if they develop coronavirus. This group, for example, could include cancer patients, organ transplant patients and those currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.