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Coronavirus Patients Reportedly Suffering From Heart Damage

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 7/4/2020 Darwin Malicdem

The serious effects of COVID-19 may be more than just respiratory issues. Data from initial cases of coronavirus infection from different countries shows a large number of patients developed heart problems and died from cardiac arrest.

Looking at data from heavily affected countries China, Italy and the U.S., cardiac experts said the coronavirus potentially affects the heart muscle. One study estimates that one in five patients with the novel coronavirus had cardiac damage due to the infection, WebMD reported Monday

Heart failure appeared to be the cause of death for some people who did not experience respiratory problems because of COVID-19. Two other studies in China showed that patients who developed heart problems after contracting the virus are more likely to die. 

However, researchers noted larger research is required to see if the coronavirus alone causes heart damage in patients or the body’s response to infection led to the health problem. 

“It’s extremely important to answer the question: Is their heart being affected by the virus and can we do something about it?” Ulrich Jorde, head of heart failure, cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support for the Montefiore Health System in New York City, said. “This may save many lives in the end.”

Some experts believe that the pneumonia caused by COVID-19 potentially contributes to the cardiac damage. That is because it causes widespread inflammation in the body, which could harm arteries and cause heart attacks.

Inflammation has also been linked to a condition called myocarditis. It causes the weakening of the heart muscle and puts people at high risk of heart failure.

An analysis of the effects of COVID-19 on people suggested that the novel coronavirus could attach to certain receptors that are found both in the lungs and heart muscle. Some people may also have higher risk of suffering heart failure after contracting the virus because of genetic predisposition, according to Robert Bonow, a professor of cardiology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. 

Jorde said doctors should consider closely monitoring cardiac markers in COVID-19 patients. Understanding how the disease damages the heart may help the medical community improve the approach to infected people. 

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