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COVID-19 and Heart Health

Even after recovery, there have been reports of patients who had COVID-19 experiencing types of heart damage and complications, notwithstanding severity of COVID-19 symptoms, lack of hospitalization, and no history or occurrence of preexisting heart conditions.1 Healthcare professionals have observed and continue to observe that hospitalized patients were exhibiting signs of heart injury, such as myocarditis. As it stands, nearly ¼ of hospitalized patients have also been diagnosed with cardiac complications, accounting for 40 percent of all COVID-19-related deaths.1

A study published in JAMA Cardiology,2 wherein researchers preformed cardiac MRIs on 100 patients who recovered from COVID-19, discovered heart abnormalities in 78 percent of patients, with myocardial inflammation affecting 60 percent, and high levels of troponin (a blood enzyme indicative of heart damage) in 76 percent of total patients.

Researchers and healthcare experts recommend that individuals recovering from COVID-19 should be particularly mindful of the following symptoms:1,2

  •  Extreme shortness of breath (with exertion)
  • Ankle swelling
  • Chest pain
  •  Irregular heartbeat
  •  The inability to lie flat without shortness of breath
  •  Awakening with shortness of breath
  •  Dizzy spells
  • Lightheadedness

Sources

  1. Williamson, L. What COVID-19 is doing to the heart, even after recovery. 3 Sept 2020. American Heart Association News.  https://www.heart.org/en/news/2020/09/03/what-covid-19-is-doing-to-the-heart-even-after-recovery. Accessed 12 Jan 2021. 
  2. Puntmann VO, Carerj ML, Wieters I, et al. Outcomes of cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging in patients recently recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(11):1265–1273

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