The Irish Heart Foundation today urged people living with chronic heart disease not to let their guard down as lockdown restrictions are eased after Department of Health data showed they accounted for half of Covid-19 admissions to ICUs.

The Department of Health revealed that of the first 327 people admitted to ICU with coronavirus (COVID-19), 165 people (50% of the total) had chronic heart disease.

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director, Irish Heart Foundation said the statistics highlight the need for people living with heart disease and stroke to continue taking special precautions, including to follow cocooning advice, to minimise interaction with other people and protect themselves.

“Though this information is worrying for patients with underlying heart disease it is not a surprise as information from other countries has already told us that patients with underlying heart disease – that includes people who have had heart attacks, heart failure, heart disease secondary to high blood pressure, etc. are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus.

“It confirms the importance of these patients taking special care and to continue cocooning if they are over 70 years of age, immunocompromised or have severe heart disease or other severe diseases such as lung disease.

“It is important to try and take as much regular exercise as you can, eat healthily and stop smoking if you smoke, avoid contact with people other than those you live with, and wash your hands regularly particularly when you return home.”

The Irish Heart Foundation’s nurse support line is available for people living with cardiovascular disease who have questions or concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19).

The support line is available from Monday to Friday, between 9am to 5pm on 01 6685001 or

A network of 26 in-person stroke and heart failure support groups have transitioned to online and telephone support while Facebook support groups for people or family members of people living with heart disease and stroke also offer support.

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Further information is available on the Irish Heart Foundation’s website at or on the HSE website at