Heart specialist urges people not to ignore warning signs - in light of COVID-19 impact

Dr Carter says many of the reasons why so many people were affected during the first wave will no longer be relevant in the case of a second wave Credit: NORTH TEES AND HARTLEPOOL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

A heart specialist on Teesside has urged people not to ignore the warning signs and seek medical support if needed, in light of the startling impact of COVID-19.

This is after the British Heart Foundation revealed across the country there were almost 800 excess deaths in people aged under 65 with heart and circulatory problems since the pandemic began.

The cardiology service at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is urging people who experience issues to make contact immediately.


People for one reason or another were not contacting health services as they normally would. Some were anxious about overburdening the NHS and some were concerned to contact their GP or health professional for fear of catching COVID-19. “Second, because the NHS was treating so many patients with COVID-19, some of our other routine tests and treatments had to be put on hold.

Dr Justin Carter, consultant in cardiology

Dr Carter says many of the reasons why so many people were affected during the first wave will no longer be relevant in the case of a second wave.


The NHS is here for you and it is available. It can deal with any health issue you may have including chest pains. Don’t be shy to make contact. People can be reassured they are not at risk when they come for treatment – they are at much greater risk if they choose not to attend hospital to deal with issues that need attention.

Dr Justin Carter, consultant in cardiology

It comes as figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that excess deaths in England and Wales for many health conditions spiked during the first peak of the pandemic in March and April. 

Then, in the 10 weeks following, the numbers fell back to levels seen before the peak.

But excess deaths from heart and circulatory diseases in people under 65 remained high even after the first peak - with rates almost 13% higher than usual between May and July.

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