Dr Antonio Pelliccia: Those With CVD Need to Stay Active During Pandemic

September 1, 2020

It is imperative individuals with cardiovascular diseases remain active despite COVID-19 lockdowns, said Antonio Pelliccia, MD, senior consultant and chief of cardiology at the Institute of Sports Medicine and Science, of the Italian National Olympic Committee.

It is imperative individuals with cardiovascular diseases remain active despite COVID-19 lockdowns, said Antonio Pelliccia, MD, senior consultant and chief of cardiology at the Institute of Sports Medicine and Science, of the Italian National Olympic Committee.

Transcript:

The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®): What events prompted the need for updated guidelines on sports and exercise in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

Dr. Pelliccia: Well actually, the European Society of Cardiology was prompted to write these guidelines because of requests by the cardiologists. Obviously cardiologists know that exercise and eventually sport is very useful in control of several cardiovascular diseases. But when they are in front of the patient, and they are going to advise a sport...they are in doubt as to what kind of sport and what kind of intensity they should advise. The aim of this document is to teach the clinical cardiologists how to evaluate the patient with cardiovascular disease before advising exercise and sport participation.


One of the major objectives of this document is to improve the knowledge, in terms of the pathophysiology of exercise, as part of the overall cardiologist's [strategy] and make the cardiologist a very efficient category in order to promote exercise and sport participation. So, add the cardiologist to the sport physicians and the other physicians that actually are dealing with exercise and sports in order to provide, particularly patients with cardiovascular disease, the option to participate in exercise and sport in a safe manner without particular risk.

AJMC®: In the era of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), what are some tips you can offer to individuals with CVD to help them stay active?

Dr. Pelliccia: Well, this is very challenging. This is really very challenging. We are still experiencing these terrible lockdowns with people refraining from participating in the usual lifestyle sports. The idea that the patient with cardiovascular disease should remain active is even more important than for normal people. It's important for everyone, but it's still even more important for people with cardiovascular disease. So this is the option for people that have been not so far engaged in any sport at all, just to start out directly with this. For instance, jogging or walking, or running, according to the situation, according to the status of cardiac disease. But also there are some other activities such as golfing or maybe cycling. So all the outdoor activities that are related to a relatively lower risk for infection of COVID-19; it can be self management.


Before doing this, before engaging in sports, consultation and advice from a physician is always a very safe suggestion, particularly for those people that have been sedentary for life, and they have relatively scarce knowledge about their disease and how to manage their disease. Those people may benefit the most from a consultation with their physician and particularly cardiologists. And we have put that in this document, cardiologists but also the patients themselves [ought to] approach sports activity in a safe manner.