Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill. But some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell. Having a heart and circulatory condition probably doesn’t make you any more likely to catch coronavirus than anyone else. But if you have a heart or circulatory condition it may mean that you could get more ill if you get coronavirus, which is why it’s really important to protect yourself.
Some heart patients are considered at extremely high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You are classed as extremely vulnerable if you have had an organ transplant at any time, or are pregnant with significant heart disease. If you are in one of these groups, you should protect yourself by staying at home and minimising contact with people you live with, for the next 12 weeks. This is called shielding.
If this applies to you, you will be contacted directly by the NHS with further advice. If you think you fall into one of these categories but have not received a letter, email or text by Thursday April 2, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or specialist doctor or nurse.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new disease and we don’t know everything about who is most at risk of complications. Other heart patients may still be at particularly high risk or high risk. This list is based on the best information available from relevant experts. It is possible that other conditions could put you at risk that we don't know about yet, so it's important that everyone works hard not to catch or spread coronavirus.
Even if you are not at extremely high risk, you should be staying at home apart from essential needs as per current advice, as you may still be at particularly high risk because of your heart condition. You may be at particularly high risk if you have:
- heart disease and are over 70
- heart disease and lung disease/chronic kidney disease
- angina that restricts your daily life or means you have to use your GTN frequently
- heart failure, especially if it restricts your daily life or you’ve been admitted to hospital to treat your heart failure in the past year
- heart valve disease that is severe and associated with symptoms (such as if you regularly feel breathless, or you have symptoms from your heart valve problem despite medication, or if you are waiting for valve surgery). A heart murmur that does not cause you symptoms doesn't put you at high risk.
- you're recovering from recent open-heart surgery in the last three months (including heart bypass surgery)
- cardiomyopathy (any type) if you have symptoms such as breathlessness, or it limits your daily life, or you’ve been told you have problems with your heart function
- congenital heart disease (any type) if you also have any of the following: lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, you’re over 70, you are pregnant, or if you have complex congenital heart disease (such as Fontan, single ventricle or cyanosis).
To learn more about people in the higher risk and extremely vulnerable groups and what they should do, please visit the Gov.uk website and the British Heart Foundation’s page, Coronavirus: what it means for you if you have heart or circulatory disease.