The Cardiologist at the Time of Coronavirus: A Perfect Storm

Claudio Rapezzi; Roberto Ferrari


Eur Heart J. 2020;41(13):1320-1322. 

In This Article

Outline of a Pandemia

From January 2020, COVID-19 infection has spread fast from China, mainly to South-East Asia and Europe (and Italy in particular) even though cases have by now been reported around the world. The clinical picture is that of a flu-like syndrome of mild severity in most cases, but in 15% of cases it is complicated by interstitial pneumonia and avariable degree of respiratory failure. Below are some numbers (from 9 March 2020) that give the idea of the virulence of COVID-19.

In the absence of specific treatment or a vaccine, there are only two possible remedies: (i) supportive treatment of the infection's respiratory complications, including admission to intensive care units (ICUs) and use of mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; (ii) attempts to counter the spread of the infection with drastic and likely unpopular measures such as quarantine or restriction of free movement in a specific area, with the aim of letting the epidemic exhaust itself 'naturally', this hopefully facilitated by the coming of summer in the northern hemisphere.