GPs lack important information to distinguish between cardiovascular disease and the coronavirus, the Heart Foundation reports Tuesday. Doctors cannot diagnose and treat patients quickly enough. The foundation, general practitioners and cardiologists have therefore started an investigation.

People with cardiovascular disease are at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill from the COVID-19 virus. According to the Dutch Heart Foundation, general practitioners lack important information for rapid diagnosis and treatment for cardiovascular patients.

The research of the foundation, general practitioners and cardiologists focuses on people who are not in the hospital. In complaints such as chest tightness and chest pain, this can indicate cardiovascular problems, but it can also indicate complaints by the corona virus. GPs want to be able to make this distinction more quickly when patients contact them. "Many cardiovascular patients live with great concerns and questions, which we as general practitioners do not yet have a good answer to," explains Frans Rutten, general practitioner and researcher at UMC Utrecht.

'Need quick answers'

According to the Dutch Heart Foundation, it is vital that these answers come as soon as possible, especially now that the measures regarding the coronavirus are being relaxed and people are coming into contact with each other again more often. "We urgently need more knowledge about the best treatment of cardiovascular patients with corona," says Rutten. "We want to know better how to treat infected patients at an early stage, in order to prevent serious complaints and possibly hospitalization."

The Dutch Heart Foundation is also investigating whether complications can be detected more quickly, so that GPs can start with the correct treatment earlier. In addition, the research should provide a better picture of the risk of complications in cardiovascular patients infected with the coronavirus and should map out how people who are back home after a hospital stay due to the virus. For example, it is being investigated whether they have an increased risk of complications in the long term, such as heart attacks or strokes.

Follow the latest developments around the virus in our live blog.

The coronavirus in short

  • The coronavirus mainly spreads through sneezes and cough drops. Most patients have mild (flu-like) complaints. These are the symptoms.
  • Read here what rules there are to contain the outbreak.
  • We have also translated these measures into Arabic, English, Polish and Turkish.
  • In our corona guide we give you an overview of all reliable information and what you should and can do now that you are at home a lot.