SPRINGFIELD — A talk on heart complications caused by coronavirus disease 2019 will lead off the popular annual Heart & Vascular Health Series being presented remotely this year at noon on the four Sundays in February by Baystate Health due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The series, held in conjunction with American Heart Month and given by Baystate providers, begins with the Feb. 7 talk, “The COVID Heart: Effects of COVID-19 on the Heart, What We Know,” by Dr. Aaron Kugelmass, Baystate’s vice president and medical director of heart and vascular services and chief of cardiology.

Increasingly, long-term complications, including heart inflammation that can impact the organ’s ability to pump, are being observed in a certain percentage of patients who have recovered from the life-threatening respiratory disease. This presentation is described in some studies as postacute COVID-19, meaning the persistence of symptoms beyond three weeks of onset and, in chronic cases, beyond 12 weeks.

Lingering symptoms range from fatigue to organ dysfunction believed linked to tissue damage from SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes the disease and whose infections can be particularly severe in those with existing medical conditions.

An interventional cardiologist, Kugelmass will address the possible impact of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection on the heart and what treatments are available to address it.

Other presenters in the hour-long lecture series include:

  • Dr. Quinn Pack, a preventative cardiologist with Baystate Cardiology, and Patrick Schilling, chief exercise physiologist for Baystate’s Heart & Vascular Program, will present the Feb. 14 lecture, “Cardiac Risk Factors and Wellness in the Era of COVID-19.” They will discuss how changes in behavior have impacted cardiac risk factors during the pandemic and offer tips on what can be done to keep your heart healthy and strong despite the challenging times.
  • Dr. Zachry Zichittella, who practices at Baystate Cardiology in Palmer, will present the Feb. 21 lecture, “Am I Having A Heart Attack?” on Feb. 21. The cardiologist’s presentation will focus on what a heart attack is, the different symptoms associated with a heart attack, and the importance of taking action quickly.
  • Dr. Fadi Chalhoub, a cardiac electrophysiologist of Baystate Cardiology in Springfield, Greenfield and Northampton, will present the Feb. 28 lecture, “The Heart’s Electrical System and Latest Treatments.” He will review the role of the heart’s electrical system and discuss the latest technology available to treat dysrhythmias, including leadless pacemakers.

The lectures are free but registration is required for each session and may be done online at baystatehealth.org

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