Management of valvular and structural heart diseases during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: an expert opinion of the Working Group on Valvular Heart Diseases, the Working Group on Cardiac Surgery, and the Association of Cardiovascular Interventions of the Polish Cardiac Society

Kardiol Pol. 2020 May 25;78(5):498-507. doi: 10.33963/KP.15358. Epub 2020 May 15.


The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), represents a major challenge for healthcare. The involvement of cardiovascular system in COVID‑19 has been proven and increased healthcare system resources are redirected towards handling infected patients, which induces major changes in access to services and prioritization in the management of patients with chronic cardiovascular disease unrelated to COVID‑19. In this expert opinion, conceived by the task force involving the Working Groups on Valvular Heart Diseases and Cardiac Surgery as well as the Association of Cardiovascular Intervention of the Polish Cardiac Society, modification of diagnostic pathways, principles of healthcare personnel protection, and treatment guidelines regarding triage and prioritization are suggested. Heart Teams responsible for the treatment of valvular heart disease should continue their work using telemedicine and digital technology. Diagnostic tests must be simplified or deferred to minimize the number of potentially dangerous aerosol‑generating procedures, such as transesophageal echocardiography or exercise imaging. The treatment of aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation has to be offered particularly due to urgent indications and in patients with advanced disease and poor prognosis. Expert risk stratification is essential for triage and setting the priority lists. In each case, an appropriate level of personal protection must be ensured for the healthcare personnel to prevent spreading infection and preserve specialized manpower, who will supply the continuing need for handling serious chronic cardiovascular disease. Importantly, as soon as the local epidemic situation improves, efforts must be made to restore standard opportunities for elective treatment of valvular heart disease and occluder‑based therapies according to existing guidelines, thus rebuilding the state ‑of ‑the ‑art cardiovascular services.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / standards*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Cardiovascular / standards*
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Heart Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Poland
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • SARS-CoV-2