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COVID-19: Impact to Services and Operations Healthy People, Healthy Communities
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Cardiac Care

At the onset of the pandemic, for the safety of patients, families and staff, many non-urgent appointments and procedures were postponed. This resulted in a reduction of cardiac care procedures. Now, during Alert Level 2, our Cardiac Care Program is working hard to reintroduce outpatient cardiac care services. We ask for your patience as we move forward with increasing and reopening services in this area.  
 
Cardiac surgery 
 
Urgent cardiac surgeries continue to be performed during the pandemic, while non-urgent cardiac surgeries have gradually increased since the province has moved between Alert Levels. 
 
We continue to work diligently to address waitlists and to expand capacity. Our clinical teams regularly review patient lists and prioritize patients for cardiac surgery.   
 
We realize that patients’ health situations can change over time and that the routine procedures that some patients are awaiting may become emergent and/or urgent as we manage through COVID-19. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your doctor or nurse practitioner for an appointment or call the 811 NL Health Line. 
 
Cardiac diagnostics 
 
Cardiac Catheterizations and Electrophysiology Studies  
 
Following the unprecedented changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, our clinical team continues to review and reprioritize all critical cardiac catheterization patients. Since moving to Alert Level 2, the cardiac catheterization lab has reached a 96.6 per cent capacity, when compared to last year. 
 
Alert Level System  Cath Lab Service Capacity 
 Alert Level 5  42.3% 
 Alert Level 4  73.2% 
 Alert Level 3  91.0% 
 Alert Level 2  96.6% 
 
Exercise Stress Test and Holter Monitoring 
 
Exercise Stress Tests and Holter monitoring continue to be offered at the Health Sciences Centre, St. Clare's Mercy Hospital, Burin Peninsula Health Care Centre, Carbonear General Hospital and Dr. G.B. Cross Memorial Hospital.  
Work is ongoing to reschedule every patient whose appointment has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have questions regarding an appointment that was cancelled, please contact the respective cardiac diagnostic unit. Phone numbers are available on our Appointment Lines page, under www.easternhealth.ca/ContactUs.   

Echocardiography
 
Echocardiography services have increased since Alert Level 2, and we are making efforts to expand capacity to address longer-than normal echocardiography wait-times incurred by the pandemic. 
 
If you have any questions regarding an appointment that was postponed, please contact the echocardiography laboratory at your respective facility. Phone numbers are available on our Appointment Lines page, under www.easternhealth.ca/ContactUs.   
 
Congestive Heart Failure Clinic  
 
We have adapted new ways for seeing and caring for our heart failure patients through embracing virtual care. We have shifted to following our patients through telephone and video appointments where possible. During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients needing immediate or urgent assessment have been seen in clinic.  
 
Progress of service resumption – cardiac care services March - November 2020:
 
Cardiac Cath Lab Tests, November2020 progress of service resumption Eastern Health
 
During the month of November, 356 cardiac catheterization laboratory procedures were completed, maintaining the resumption of normal operations,* plus an additional 12 per cent increase in service volume. This also represents an increase of 60 per cent in service volume from June to November 2020. 
 
*Normal operations are defined by the median pre COVID-19 monthly service volume. Read full disclaimer on data.  
 
Cardiac Diagnostic Testing, Nov 2020 Service resumption, Eastern Health
**Includes stress testing, Holter monitoring, electrocardiogram and echocardiograms.  
 
During the month of November, 2,764 cardiology diagnostic tests were completed, reaching approximately 95 per cent of normal operations. This represents an increase of 83 per cent in service volume from June to November 2020. 
 
*Normal operations are defined by the median pre COVID-19 monthly service volume. Read full disclaimer on data.  
 

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Updated Jan 18, 2021