Can Coronavirus Cause Heart Damage
Can COVID-19 damage the heart? Yes: Although COVID-19 the disease caused by the coronavirus thats led to the global pandemic is primarily a respiratory or lung disease, the heart can also suffer.
Early reports coming out of China and Italy, two areas where COVID-19 took hold earlier in the pandemic, show that up to 1 in 5 patients with the illness end up with heart damage. Heart failure has been the cause of death in COVID-19 patients, even those without severe breathing problems such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS.
Not all heart problems related to this coronavirus officially called SARS-CoV-2are alike, however. Cardiologist Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., explains the different ways the virus and the bodys response to it can cause heart damage.
Q: Why Does Heart Disease Increase A Person’s Risk Of Severe Infection
Dr. Trachtenberg: For most people, COVID-19 is a mild illness that can be managed at home. Somewhere around 20% of infected individuals, however, develop severe symptoms and complications that increase the likelihood of hospitalization, and even death.
Of those who are more at risk for severe COVID-19 are individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions, including:
- Heart failure
In addition, individuals may also be higher risk if they have high blood pressure a very common condition that affects a person’s blood vessels and heart.
Initially, it wasn’t completely clear why having a heart condition makes a person more vulnerable to COVID-19. But our understanding of how this virus affects the body specifically, the heart and vascular system has grown tremendously over the last year. We now know that there are two prevailing reasons that heart disease is associated with a poorer COVID-19 prognosis.
First, a person with a weakened heart or vascular system is more vulnerable to the complications that can develop while ill with COVID-19. These complications include:
- Low blood pressure
- Heart rate changes that accompany fever
- Excessive inflammation
- Increased risk of blood clots
Even a healthy heart has to work very hard to help overcome these COVID-19-related complications, but for a heart that’s already struggling these complications can easily become severe and turn deadly.
How Can A Respiratory Illness Like Covid
Michos explains that cells in the lung and heart are both covered with protein molecules called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE-2. The ACE-2 protein is the doorway that the new coronavirus uses to enter cells and multiply.
ACE-2 normally plays a favorable role in protecting tissue by being anti-inflammatory. But if the new coronavirus somehow disables those molecules, these cells may be left unprotected when the immune system springs into action.
There are multiple mechanisms for heart damage in COVID-19, and not everyone is the same, Michos says. Temporary or lasting damage to heart tissue can be due to several factors:
Lack of oxygen. As the virus causes inflammation and fluid to fill up the air sacs in the lungs, less oxygen can reach the bloodstream. The heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body, which can be dangerous in people with pre-existing heart disease. The heart can fail from overwork, or insufficient oxygen can cause cell death and tissue damage in the heart and other organs.
Myocarditis: inflammation of the heart. The coronavirus may infect and damage the hearts muscle tissue directly, as is possible with other viral infections, including some strains of the flu. The heart may also become damaged and inflamed indirectly by the bodys own immune system response.
Stay on Top of Your Heart Health
If you have a new or existing heart problem, it’s vital to see a doctor. Our heart health checklist can help you determine when to seek care.
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Shortness Of Breath Or Chest Pain After Covid
Shortness of Breath
You want to consult a doctor if any of your symptoms are severe, especially shortness of breath, Post says. She recommends using a commercially available O2 saturation monitor.
Shortness of breath by itself is not always a sign of a serious problem, but if you have that symptom along with low O2 , that is a reason to be concerned. Sometimes people are short of breath with exertion after COVID-19 because they have been less active for a long time and need to gradually build their fitness level back up.
COVID-19 Chest Pain
What about lingering chest pain, another common post-COVID complaint? Chest pain may be nothing serious, but if you are having severe chest pain, get help, especially if it is persistent or if you are also having nausea, shortness of breath or lightheadedness: These could be symptoms of a heart attack.
If you have chest pain when you inhale, you might have lung inflammation. Sudden, severe chest pain could be a blood clot in the lung , Post says.
Family doctor or cardiologist?
If your symptoms are not severe but you want to be checked out, Post says a cardiologist doesnt need to be your first stop if youve never had heart problems before and are not at risk. For nonemergency post-COVID-19 symptoms, your primary care practitioner can advise you, she says.
Heart Failure and COVID-19
- Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
- Shortness of breath when lying down
- Leg swelling
- Frequent urination at night
How Does The Coronavirus Affect The Heart
How does COVID-19 affect the heart?
In some people, as COVID-19 decreases lung function, it may deprive the heart of adequate oxygen. Sometimes 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 within them, leading to blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Clots throughout the body have been found in many COVID-19 patients. That has led some doctors to try blood thinners, although there is no consensus on that treatment.
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 previous disease.
A recent review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology notes that evidence of heart involvement has been found in at least 25% of hospitalized coronavirus patients. At some centers, the rate is 30% or higher. And some studies have found elevated enzyme levels and other signs suggesting heart damage even in patients with milder disease. It is not known whether that damage is permanent.
Dr. Tom Maddox, an American College of Cardiology board member, says it’s unclear if the virus can cause a normal heart to become dysfunctional.
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Which Is Riskier For People With Heart Conditions: Covid
Theres no question: Having COVID-19 is much riskier than the vaccine, especially for people with an underlying health condition.
The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. In comparison, having COVID-19 can cause severe illness or death in people with heart problems. For example, you may be more at risk for COVID-19 complications if you have:
- A heart valve problem
- Heart failure
- Atrial fibrillation
Because of this, the CDC has recommended that people with heart conditions should get the vaccine.
Fact Check: The Claims Are Falsified
Research showed that Cardiomyopathy is not related to any COVID vaccine as a potential side effect, according to USA Today. Some research revealed that the vaccines might be responsible for a slightly increased risk of the blood clots for which Pfizer sells medication. However, experts claimed that given the rarity of the condition, it is impossible to connect the increased profits for the drug with the side effect of the vaccine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blood clots are a rare side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine and the blood clot syndrome associated with the vaccine that can be treated by Pfizer drug Eliquis is even rarer. CDC reported 49 confirmed cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome in September. 2 of them were related to the Moderna vaccine and the rest 47 were associated with Johnson & Johnson vaccine. No confirmed cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome associated with the Pfizer vaccine were reported as of September, according to CDC.
“There is no evidence to conclude that arterial or venous thromboembolic events, with or without thrombocytopenia, are a risk associated with the use of our COVID-19 vaccine,” Pfizer spokesperson Steve Danehy said.
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Risk Of Complications If Infected
Generally, people over 65 years old with coronary artery disease or high blood pressure may be at greater risk of severe outcomes. These people and anyone with underlying conditions that heighten their risk for complications should take extra precautions to avoid the virus.
People with heart disease or those who have had a stroke are already at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19. The virus may damage the heart and slow down a patient’s blood flow to the heart and brain.
Patients with congenital heart disease, especially in those whose congenital defects have not been surgically corrected, may be at a higher risk of complications if affected by COVID-19, as their blood circulation has already been compromised.
People with peripheral artery disease are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19 because many of these people also have diabetes and heart disease, which are among the more critical underlying conditions that worsen COVID-19 infection outcomes.
Doctors Observations In Hospital Settings
To understand the scope of COVID-19-related heart complications observed in the clinical setting, Medical News Today spoke with Joshua I. Goldhaber MD, Cardiologist and Associate Director of the Coronary Intensive Care Unit, Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars Sinai, in Los Angeles, California.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is one of several hundred hospitals in the US that have reported full intensive care units due to COVID-19 as of January 28.
Dr. Goldhaber told MNT that at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, most of the patients who experience COVID-19-related heart complications are people who already have an underlying cardiac condition, such as heart failure or coronary disease.
In patients with COVID-19 and underlying cardiac conditions, the illness tended to exacerbate their heart issues, which increases the likelihood that these patients would need intubation in the intensive care unit .
Early in the pandemic, Dr. Goldhaber and his colleagues were concerned there was going to be an increased rate of cardiac findings related to COVID-19.
Dr. Goldhaber said, we were surprised and we continue to be surprised that we have not seen that to the extent that we believed , based on data that had been coming out of China early on in the pandemic.
Dr. Goldhaber also noted that his team has not seen many new cardiac problems they could directly relate to COVID-19 disease.
Dr. Goldhaber said:
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Does It Affect The Heart
You might have heard the news that some individuals experienced blood clots after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. In the United States, there have been some reported cases of inflammation in the heart muscle and on the outer lining, mainly in male teenagers and young adults 16 and older. However, these are rare cases, and most felt better after receiving care, taking medicine, and resting.
If your child receives the COVID-19 vaccine and experiences any shortness of breath, chest pains, or heart palpitations, seek medical care immediately.
What You Should Know About Covid
COVID-19 may negatively affect the heart in a variety of ways, leading to symptoms of chest pain, arrhythmias , or complications like heart failure and cardiogenic shock in patients from all walks of life and diverse health profiles.
COVID-19 doesnt always involve the heart but when it does, the most commonly detected cardiovascular impact of COVID-19 observed in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients is an exaggerated inflammatory response triggered by the virus, known as myocarditis. In one study, nearly 80% of the examined COVID-19 survivors had heart abnormalities chiefly suggestive of inflammation that were detectable on magnetic resonance imaging scans two months after infection. Overall, the findings of generalized inflammation in the heart are called COVID myocarditis. The study concluded a high rate of COVID myocarditis based on cardiac MRI findings in patients who recently recovered from COVID infection.
Viruses are not typically studied post-viral infection, Parwani notes. COVID-19 effects on the heart, however, were studied using cardiac MRI. This area perhaps needs more research to see how COVID-19 is different than other viruses. But given that the cardiac MRI studies show ongoing inflammation, its reasonable to get medical attention for patients with lingering symptoms.
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Coronavirus Risk And Heart Problems
If you have any form of cardiovascular disease, you should be more cautious about COVID-19, practicing and other ways .
Some heart patients may have a higher risk of contracting the disease, and some may be more prone to complications if they get it. In addition, the virus can cause heart muscle or vessel damage, resulting in severe problems.
Should I Be Concerned About Thrombosis After Vaccination What Are The Warning Signs
Thrombosis is an abnormal clot formation that cause stroke, heart attack and other major issues. COVID-19 is associated with a very high risk of thrombosis, therefore a high risk of death.
In some very rare instances, an abnormal immune response has been associated with the COVID-19 vaccine. In those cases, the number of platelets your body manufactures goes down and a clot forms. This is very rare less than 1 in 50,000 cases, seen primarily in individuals receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine is currently not in use in the United States.
If you experience severe headache, trouble seeing, loss of strength or balance, chest pain or discomfort, nausea or vomiting in the days following your COVID-19 vaccination, it would be prudent to seek medical attention to exclude this or other rare complications of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Young: Black: Man: Getting: Vaccinejpg
Today during a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices , a panel of expert advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , discussed rare instances of heart inflammation among mRNA COVID-19 vaccine recipients. The committee agreed the vaccines are likely linked to cases of myocarditis and pericarditis but said the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.
The first reports of myocarditis and pericarditis occurred in Israel in January, the experts said, and have followed in all countries using mRNAs. The myocarditis and pericarditis associated with vaccines are usually mild and respond well to a course of treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
“Clinical presentation of myocarditis cases following vaccination has been distinct, occurring most often within 1 week after dose two, with chest pain as the most common presentation, ” said Grace Lee, MD, chair of ACIP’s safety subcommittee.
“mRNA vaccines may be a new trigger for myocarditis, yet it does have some different characteristics,” said Matthew Oster, MD, MPH, from the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.
The most common symptoms reported by patients were chest pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty sleeping.
How Covid Affects Your Heart According To A Cardiologist
For American Hearth Month, Dr. Jennifer Haythe explains the impact of COVID-19 on one of the body’s most vital organs
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to infect millions of people around the world, researchers are learning more about how the virus affects various organs in the body. While it was initially thought to be a respiratory illness, it’s now clear that it attacks far more than just the lungs. Doctors are especially concerned about how it may impact the heart. Dr. Jennifer Haythe, critical care cardiologist at Columbia University Center and member of the PEOPLE Health Squad, shares what experts know about how COVID-19 impacts the cardiovascular system.
How does COVID-19 impact the heart?
One way COVID affects the heart is that it can cause myocarditis, or an inflammation of the heart muscle, which can cause different kinds of symptoms, including chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms, and even reduced heart function.
Another way that we’re seeing COVID affect the heart is by causing significant arrhythmias. People come in with heart rhythms that cause their blood pressure to drop, or cause them to feel palpitations, or even cause them to require CPR.
The third is heart failure syndrome. COVID can affect the heart cells themselves, and cause heart function to become reduced, so people have symptoms like shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs and swelling of the feet.
What is the biggest concern for people with known heart issues if they’re diagnosed with COVID?
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Is Heart Damage Caused By Covid
Post says that if symptoms are due to a cardiac cause, recovery depends on the severity of injury. Very few people have a severe heart attack, such as an acute myocardial infarction, or MI, due to COVID-19, she says.
Still, heart imaging can reveal minor changes in the heart muscle of some COVID-19 survivors. Post notes that some studies on athletes recovering from the coronavirus have shown some scarring, but stresses that some of these studies did not compare these results with those who had not had COVID-19. How long these minor changes persist and how they affect heart health are not yet known. Experts are developing protocols and recommendations for which athletes should get cardiac testing before returning to play.
COVID-19 can also affect the strength of the heart pumping, Post says, but subtle abnormalities in heart pumping are not likely to cause people problems.
A person recovering from COVID-19 may benefit from physical therapy, breathing exercises, and most of all, time. Post advises anyone recovering from COVID-19 should expect a gradual course of recovery, and should not expect a rapid return to their normal activity levels.