Not just lungs, studies say coronavirus may also affect the heart
PESHAWAR: Medics and researchers have so far focused on lung-related complications among coronavirus patients as being the biggest threat to their lives, but research is now showing that the virus could also affect other vital organs.
A study by Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) on Covid-19 patients from Wuhan in China has revealed that cardiac injury because of coronavirus could develop even among those who have no history of cardiovascular diseases.
It further found that those patients who develop these complications are at a significantly higher risk than other patients.
The risk of death was four times higher among those who developed heart complications compared to those without any heart complications.
Although the study has its limitations, it confirms similar findings from other researchers.
"Overall, injury to heart muscle can happen in any patient with or without heart disease, but the risk is higher in those who already have heart disease," Dr Mohammad Madjid, lead author of another study with similar findings, said in a press release.
JAMA also published another study tracking the case of an otherwise healthy 53-year-old Italian patient to find that cardiac complications may occur in Covid-19 patients who do not display any symptoms of a respiratory infection.
NYT reported a case in Brooklyn which was very similar to that of the Italian woman where the 64-year-old patient arrived at the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack and tests showed signs of damaged heart muscles. But when the doctors rushed to open her arteries, they found none were blocked. She later tested positive for coronavirus.
These cases have caused a conundrum with doctors unable to decide whether coronavirus should first be ruled out among such patients in these times — wasting precious time — before heart procedures are carried out.
“We were thinking lungs, lungs, lungs — with us in a supportive role,” Dr John Rumsfeld, chief science and quality officer at the American College of Cardiology told NYT. “Then all of a sudden we began to hear about potential direct impact on the heart.”
What does this mean for heart patients?
Heart patients are no more likely than others to catch coronavirus but are at a higher risk of developing serious complications and death, especially if they are older and have other conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.
They should take all the necessary precautions prescribed by government and health authorities including keeping indoors and washing hands often.
You can read more about physical activities at home, dealing with stress and heart-healthy recipes by the American Heart Association here. - Agencies