If You're a Patient

Coronavirus Questions for Patients

I have coronavirus symptoms. What should I do?

If you think you have the virus (or if you know you do), make sure appropriate caregivers are available at home, and ensure there’s a separate bedroom or space where you can recover without sharing immediate space with others. More tips.

What do I need to know about the coronavirus if I have a heart valve problem?

Because of your condition you face higher risks of complications from COVID-19 if you contract the disease, which makes caution extremely important. Do everything possible to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. Staying home and away from other people is critically important — especially if you are in your 60s or older. And of course stay focused on the safety basics: handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, not touching surfaces, cleaning surfaces diligently. The CDC has a full list of recommended precautions. And remember to take your medications as prescribed, stay in contact with your health care team, and be sure to eat well and be physically active. If you are preparing for a procedure, be sure and get plenty of rest. Dr. Suzanne Arnold answers more of your questions in this video.

Is there a place where I can easily reach out to other patients and survivors?

Yes, the AHA’s Support Network is just such a place. It’s an online community of survivors, caregivers, family members and friends. You’ll find information, advice and encouragement regarding many medical conditions as well as other topics. Hop on! It’s easy to join — and it’s free.

Should heart and stroke patients continue rehabilitation?

First, call to see if your rehabilitation center is still operational. If it’s closed, here are some exercises you can try at home

What do I need to know about the coronavirus if I have high blood pressure?

Because of your condition you face higher risks of complications from COVID-19 if you contract the disease, which makes caution extremely important. Do everything possible to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. Staying away from other people is critically important — especially if you are in your 60s or older. And don’t forget the safety basics: handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, not touching surfaces, cleaning surfaces diligently. The CDC has a full list of recommended precautions. In addition, continue taking all your medications as prescribed, including ACE inhibitors and ARBs. These medications do not increase your risk of contracting COVID-19. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should be fully evaluated before adding or removing any treatments. And high blood pressure patients and diabetes patients should both keep in mind that your overall medical condition is much better if your blood pressure and diabetes are optimally controlled.

If I only have plaque buildup, does my mild heart disease put me at the same level of risk as people with more severe heart disease?

No. So remember to continue your cholesterol medications and get a good form of exercise each day.

What should children and adults with congenital heart defects, or those caring for them, be doing?

They should be doing the same as everyone else in terms of prevention and precautions. In addition, continue your regular medications and call your physician if there are any new symptoms or problems.

What do I need to know about the coronavirus if I have heart failure?

Because of your condition you face higher risks of complications from COVID-19 if you contract the disease, which makes caution extremely important. Do everything possible to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. Staying home and away from other people is critically important — especially if you are in your 60s or older. And don’t forget the safety basics: handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, not touching surfaces, cleaning surfaces diligently. The CDC has a full list of recommended precautions. Stay in contact with your health care team, eat well, be physically active, and take all your medications as prescribed, including ACE inhibitors and ARBs. If you aren’t already doing so, track your symptoms each day so you can better manage your condition. Our free HF Path app can help.

Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

Yes. That’s why the CDC recommends that these patients be isolated in the hospital or at home until they’re better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. The length of time can vary case by case.

I heard a rumor that my medication could put me at risk. Is that true?

The first thing you should do if you hear a rumor about your medication is contact your health care provider or pharmacist. There recently was misinformation going around about COVID-19 risks for patients who were already prescribed medications for high blood pressure, heart failure and other heart disease. The AHA, Heart Failure Society of America and American College of Cardiology jointly published a new statement debunking that rumor.

What do I need to know about the coronavirus if I have atrial fibrillation?

Because of your condition you face higher risks of complications from COVID-19 if you contract the disease, which makes caution extremely important. Do everything possible to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. Staying home and away from other people is critically important — especially if you are in your 60s or older. And remember the safety basics: handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, not touching surfaces, cleaning surfaces diligently. The CDC has a full list of recommended precautions. And don’t forget to take your medications as prescribed, stay in contact with your health care team, and be sure to eat well and be physically active.

Should I avoid contact with pets if I’m sick with COVID-19?

Yes, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you’re sick with COVID-19, just like you should with other people, according to the CDC. A few pets have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after contact with people with COVID-19. But routine testing of animals isn’t currently recommended. There’s no evidence pets or other animals in the United States might be a source of infection with the coronavirus, but animals can spread other diseases to people, so always practice healthy habits after being around them. The CDC also recommends practicing social distancing when walking dogs: Use a leash, maintain at least 6 feet from other people and animals, and do not let other people pet your dog when out for a walk. It’s also recommended that you keep your cats indoors. For more information, see COVID-19 and Animals.


HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.