What heart disease and stroke patients in the UAE need to know about the COVID-19 vaccination

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Most patients with heart disease and stroke need to take beta blockers, anticoagulants, and blood thinners. However, COVID-19 vaccines can be safely administered to these patients.
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Dubai: Patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke can be safely vaccinated against COVID-19 under the guidance of their medical consultant and should inform the nurse administrator of the vaccines of their condition and their medications, say the city’s CVD and stroke specialists. .

Why should patients with heart and stroke be careful?

Most patients with heart disease and stroke need to take beta blockers, anticoagulants, and blood thinners. Taking these may interfere with the bleeding that may occur at the site where the vaccine is given.

However, the vaccine can be safely administered to these patients. In fact, the American Heart Association issued a statement encouraging people with cardiovascular risk factors, heart disease, or a history of heart attack or stroke to get the vaccine “as soon as possible.”

Dr Syed Sakib Nazir

Opting for vaccination is especially important for them, as people with such underlying conditions are at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, explained Dr Syed Sakib Nazir, interventional cardiologist. specialist at Fakeeh University Hospital, Dubai. .

According to Nazir, patients who take beta blockers can take COVID-19 without experiencing any problems. “Regarding anticoagulants, patients who are considering taking the COVID-19 vaccine and are using blood thinners can take the vaccine. However, the patient should consult his doctor. Anticoagulants can still be taken regularly. However, before being vaccinated, the patient should inform the medical personnel who administer the vaccine that they are taking anticoagulants. Once the vaccine is administered, the risk of swelling or a blood clot forming under the skin is low, ”he said.

Let’s understand how these specific drugs work.

What are beta blockers?

Beta blockers are drugs provided to patients with CVD and to those with high blood pressure who are at risk of having a stroke. They effectively block the impact of stress hormones such as epinephrine and adrenaline and slow down the heartbeat.

Anticoagulants vs Anticoagulants

There are two types of anticoagulants, followed by anticoagulants which prevent the blood platelets from clumping together.

According to Dr K Sundar Kumar, a consulting interventional cardiologist at Prime Hospital, anticoagulants and anticoagulants are prescribed for patients who have atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) or those at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVTs are clots that form in the extremities that can travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism (a blockage of the pulmonary arteries that carry blood from the lungs to the heart).

Dr K Sundar Kumar

Dr Kumar explained, “In the class of anticoagulant drugs, there are the traditional anticoagulants also called Coumadin, which have an impact on the viscosity of the blood and prevent the formation of clots by inhibiting the absorption of vitamin K into the blood. . This is necessary for the formation of clots. Today, new or direct oral anticoagulants (DOA) are safer than traditional anticoagulants because they reduce the risk of intra-gastrointestinal bleeding. “

He continued, “Then we have the blood thinners like aspirin, whose platelets clump together and reduce the risk of clots.”

Tell the nurse if you are taking these medicines before taking the vaccine.

“When the blood is thin, a patient should inform their doctor and also inform the nurse administering the vaccine of the ingestion of these drugs,” explained Dr Kumar.

Both Dr Sakib and Dr Kumar have indicated that before vaccination, patients on traditional anticoagulants should undergo a test called the International Normalized Ratio (INR) to assess blood clotting. “The normal INR value is between 1 and 1.5, which indicates that the blood has normal viscosity. A value lower than this would mean that the blood is viscous and clot easily, a higher value would indicate that the blood was too thin and the chances of bleeding are higher. Patients with an INR less than three can be vaccinated.

What the nurse should know

The nurse administering the vaccine should know your blood medicine so that when administering the vaccine, she should be very careful and compress the vaccination site for a longer period of time and then rub it well to avoid any kind of bruising that may occur. occur with a small hemorrhage. “In any case, the needle for the vaccination is very fine and the risk of bleeding is minimal. However, with information the nurse can be very careful, ”said Dr Nazir.

Why patients with high blood pressure need to keep their blood pressure under control

Dr Saqib said that before vaccination, patients with a tendency to high blood pressure should monitor their blood pressure. “I normally provide my patients with a report on blood pressure readings. Normal vaccine side effects such as fever, headache, and allergic reactions can affect a patient’s blood pressure and increase their risk of stroke. Therefore, it is best that such patients are under the advice and guidance of their doctor. Patients on beta blockers may be at risk of hypotension (low blood pressure). High blood pressure and hypotension can affect their health. “

Both doctors agreed that the vaccine’s benefit in increasing immunity against COVID-19 was much more beneficial than the lower risks these patients had. Therefore, with proper counseling, they should get vaccinated.