Tuesday , March 9 2021

What an Interventional Cardiologist Wants You to Know About Monitoring and Treating Your Cardiovascular Health During the Pandemic

BayCare Medical Group Cardiology

Dr. Rachit Shah of BayCare Medical Group Cardiology spoke to us about patient care during COVID-19.

“Many patients are ignoring symptoms of cardiac problems like heart attack and congestive heart failure due to fear of exposure to the virus. The delay in patient presentation could be detrimental specifically for certain types of heart attacks, as well as long term cardiac morbidity. These are cardiac emergencies and indicated by symptoms like chest pain and or worsening shortness of breath. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that patients seek timely care to address any potential red flags suggestive for cardiac involvement. Timely management not only improves long term survival but also prognosis and quality of life.”

Dr. Shah further adds “We know from this pandemic that preexisting cardiovascular conditions increase one’s risk of severity of the illness as well as mortality from COVID-19. We also know that this illness is directly or indirectly associated with a variety of cardiovascular complications. Again, pointing to the need of appropriately addressing the cardiovascular system of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. We strive to keep our patients safe with a variety of precautions at the same time continue to deliver high quality cardiovascular care.”

Dr. Shah continued, “The CDC still recommends physical distancing, limited person to person contact, wearing of face coverings, and proper hygiene, and we put our best efforts forward to implement these recommendations while delivering patient care. We do not want patients to postpone or avoid care for fear of COVID-19. When it comes to health conditions, specifically cardiovascular disorders, it is imperative that patients maintain their follow-ups, treatments, and, most importantly, getting any new or worsening symptoms checked immediately. We have taken multiple steps at BayCare to address patient safety. Firstly, we have become experts at keeping our staff safe. With daily staff and practitioner monitoring for symptoms or fever, mandating masks be worn by all and adequate hand hygiene is taken very seriously at BayCare. We pursue stringent disinfection of all public and treatment areas. We also have adequate physical distance between patient chairs in the waiting area, and we expedite appointment times to limit the waiting time. We also provide virtual telehealth visits for routine follow ups. Patients can expect the telehealth visit to include in-depth analysis of any symptoms a patient might have. We also check on medication management and discuss the need for changes in dosing or refills if needed. If a patient has symptoms that need to be more rigorously evaluated, we schedule diagnostic testing or exams based on those specific findings. We continue to perform lifesaving cardiac procedures like coronary angiography and coronary angioplasty with proper precautions for the patients who need them. Some non-emergent cardiac procedures have been deferred to better the manage workflow and to keep patients safe.”

“If a patient is having severe symptoms, they should go to the emergency room immediately. All proper protection and precautions are taken to make sure patients are not exposed. Seeking early treatment saves lives and can limit any long-term adverse effects. We encourage our patients to maintain all appointments and, of course, follow up with us immediately in the case of any cardiovascular events. The experts agree that maintaining your appointment is far more beneficial to your overall health than avoiding your physicians’ office out of fear.”

Rachit M Shah, MD
Dr. Rachit Shah is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology, echocardiography, and nuclear cardiology. He earned his medical degree from Smt. NHL Medical Municipal College, Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, India. He then completed an internal medicine residency at Chicago Medical School/Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Shah continued his medical education by completing fellowships in general cardiology and interventional cardiology from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia.

Dr. Shah has extensive expertise and special interest in coronary and peripheral interventions. He also specializes in invasive management of varicose vein disorders. He provides consultation services for diagnosis, management, and prevention of various cardiovascular disorders like coronary atherosclerosis, chest pain, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and venous insufficiency disease. He is also proficient in interpretation of various cardiac imaging studies like echocardiograms, vascular ultrasounds, carotid dopplers as well as cardiac nuclear stress tests. Dr. Shah is an accomplished author, having penned several peer-reviewed articles for a variety of prestigious medical journals. He also works as a peer reviewer for many leading publications. He has received multiple research grants from VCU medical center for research presentations. He was nominated for and received Young Leadership Award at CRT (Cardiac Research Technologies) conference in Washington, DC. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Shah is affiliated with the Mease/Morton Plant Hospitals.

BayCare Medical Group Cardiology
BayCare Medical Group Cardiology is a multi-location practice designed to provide collaborative, comprehensive and convenient cardiovascular care. In addition to our New Port Richey location, we are proud to have locations in Clearwater, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, St. Petersburg and Tampa, as well as Plant City and Winter Haven.

In our state-of-the-art medical facilities, our board-certified physicians provide patients with high-quality cardiovascular evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. At each of our locations, we offer a full array of cardiovascular diagnostic and treatment services.

The COVID-19 outbreak caused massive procedural deferrals resulting in a spike of late-presenting STEMS and an increase in death rate in patients waiting for procedures.

BayCare Medical Group

6633 Forest Ave., Suite 300, New Port Richey, FL 34653
(727) 724-8611
Fax: (727) 724-0425
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm












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