How does Covid-19 impact the heart? Even if it’s referred to as a respiratory virus, doctors imagine the coronavirus can directly contaminate the heart muscle and cause other problems leading to heart damage. In some people, as Covid-19 decreases lung operate, it will deprive the heart of adequate oxygen. Once in a while it causes an overwhelming inflammatory reaction that taxes the heart as the body tries to fight off the infection.
The virus can also invade blood vessels or cause inflammation inside them, leading to blood clots that can cause heart attacks. Clots all the way through the body have been found in many Covid-19 patients. That has led some doctors to check out blood thinners, even though there’s no consensus on that remedy.
Dr. Sean Pinney of the University of Chicago says people with heart disease are most at risk for virus-related damage to the heart. But heart complications also have been found in Covid-19 patients with no known preceding disease.
A recent review in the Publication of the American College of Cardiology paper money that evidence of heart involvement has been found in a minimum of 25% of hospitalized coronavirus patients. At some centers, the rate is 30% or higher. And a few studies have found elevated enzyme levels and other signs suggesting heart damage even in patients with milder disease. It isn’t known if that damage is permanent.
One small study found evidence of the virus in the hearts of Covid-19 patients who died from pneumonia. Another, the use of heart imaging, found inflammation of the heart muscle in four college athletes who had retrieved from gentle Covid-19 infections. There were no images to be had from before the athletes got sick, and subsequently no way to realize whether they had pre-existing heart problems.
Dr. Tom Maddox, an American College of Cardiology board member, says it’s unclear whether the virus can cause a normal heart to transform dysfunctional.
“There’s still such a lot we don’t realize,” Maddox said.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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