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Miami student says heart condition stems from effects of COVID-19

WKRC Cincinnati logo WKRC Cincinnati 12/9/2020 Clancy Burke, WKRC
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OXFORD, Ohio (WKRC) - A senior at Miami University is warning others about the long-term health complications of COVID-19 after being diagnosed with myocarditis, a heart condition that causes inflammation of the heart.

“If not treated, it can lead to heart failure and cardiac arrest. When I heard about all of this, I just thought, ‘How is this possible for a 21-year-old female?’ Never in my life have I heard anything like this,” Zoe Rabkin said.

Rabkin tested positive for COVID-19 in October and didn’t experience any major symptoms, like breathing issues or even a fever. Then, just weeks later, she experienced an unbearable pain in her chest in the middle of the night.

“I’ve been trying to show and reach out to people and say, ‘Hey, if you’ve had COVID, go get a check-up,” she said. “Go see the doctor. It’s not going to hurt you. You might have this condition, like me.’”

Rabkin’s doctors say her heart condition was caused by COVID-19, and while it is treatable, how long it lasts depends on how well a patient responds to anti-inflammatory medications and how bad the damage is.

“I’m not allowed to work out,” Rabkin said. “I’m not allowed to drink any alcohol. No lifting heavy things. Not being able to work out has been the worst. It just doesn’t feel like I’m a college student.”

While Rabkin awaits a cardiac MRI to determine how bad the damage is to her heart, she is using her social media to spread awareness.

“I’ve been saying on my social media, ‘I’m not trying to scare you at all, but it doesn’t hurt to get it checked out,’” she said. “I’d hate to hear about someone having a horrible reaction or go into cardiac arrest because they had no idea.”

Tommy Sweeney, a tight end on the Buffalo Bills, was recently diagnosed with myocarditis after testing positive for COVID-19 and will be out the rest of the season.

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