Cardiac Symptoms?
Getting Help Can be a Life or Death Decision!

By Matt Chandler

Heart attacks and strokes don’t care about COVID-19. They just keep on coming. Unfortunately, too many people delay seeking care for cardiac symptoms during COVID-19. That can be a real problem, says Vijay S. Iyer MD, PhD, an interventional cardiologist at Great Lakes Cardiovascular, because for some cardiac events, death can occur within minutes.

According to Dr. Iyer, patients often delay seeking care, believing their cardiac symptoms will pass, or fear that they may contract COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or hospital. However, people need to be aware that their symptoms may not even require a hospital visit. He says, “Calling and coming in to be examined allows us to assess your condition and take action. We may determine that a simple medication can help that we can prescribe during an in-office visit. But we don’t know that if you don’t reach out.”

Dr. Iyer explains, “We assess every patient and admit people who have a need for urgent care, so if a doctor admits you to a hospital, it is because you need that level of care. And, although the virus is still with us, we have flattened the curve and are seeing fewer cases daily. In the hospitals, COVID-19 patients are segregated from others, and every precaution is taken to help keep patients, staff, and providers as safe as possible.”

“Great Lakes Cardiovascular is part of General Physician, PC, which has more than 70 offices where comprehensive steps have been taken to ensure that everyone who comes through their doors is safe,” says Richard Charles MD, Chief Medical Officer of General Physician, PC.

The following precautions have been undertaken at all General Physician, PC offices:

  • Staff, providers, and patients have their temperature taken prior to entering the office.
  • Access to offices is limited to staff, providers, patients, and caregivers.
  • No outside vendors or visitors are allowed in any office.
  • Staff and providers must wear personal protective equipment.
  • Many offices offer video and telephone visits for added safety.

Both Dr. Charles and Dr. Iyer understand patients’ apprehensions and have taken every precaution possible to keep them as safe as possible. The same is true for the hospitals, which are operating at a heightened level of safety and patient protection.

“The advice I give my patients today is the same as it was before COVID-19 and the same it will be after COVID-19: If you feel something, say something. If you have symptoms, call your doctor or hospital. It could absolutely save your life,” says Dr. Iyer.

Vijay S. Iyer MD, PhD has offices in Buffalo, Williamsville, and Olean. Dr. Iyer directs the complex valve clinic at Buffalo General Medical Center and structural heart interventions at Gates Vascular Institute and Buffalo General Hospital. Dr. Iyer’s research includes cardiovascular stem cell therapy and aortic/mitral valve replacement, for which he is a local principal investigator for a number of multicenter clinical trials. To schedule an appointment at any Great Lakes Cardiovascular office, call 716-710-8266. Learn more at