Covid-19’s effects on the heart: Inflammation and marks like those of a heart attack

Picture showing how covid-19 Coronavirus affects the heart.
How covid-19 affects the heart.

How covid-19 Coronavirus affects the heart: Two studies conducted in Germany have given evidence of the impact of Covid-19 on the heart, in patients who even suffered from the disease at home.

The health of the heart can be affected, and with lasting effects, as a result of Covid-19. Although this can go unnoticed a priori, once the patient has recovered.

The aftermath of Covid-19 in the heart

This is what has been discovered, following two studies in Germany, published Tuesday in JAMA Cardiology, showing how the virus can remain in the heart for months. Even without producing symptoms.

The first study included 100 patients with coronavirus from the University Hospital of Frankfurt. Most were healthy adults in their 40s and 50s.

All of them had MRIs of their hearts two or three months after they were diagnosed with the virus, when many seemed to have made a full recovery. The images compared with people not sick with COVID-19. And some of them showed really incredible sequelae.

The heart swells after Covid-19

In fact, of those 100 patients with Covid-19, 78 still had visual signs that the virus was having an impact on the heart. Specifically, 60 had signs of ongoing inflammation of the heart muscle.

That’s really convincing, Dr. Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology in the department of medicine at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, told NBC News. “It indicates that months after exposure to COVID-19, we can still detect evidence of a heart that is not completely normal.

The virus might not cause physical symptoms, although it could clearly indicate a risk of additional heart damage.

“Once the heart muscle has been injured, there is a possibility of progressive injury,Yancy wrote in an editorial accompanying the studies.

Picture shows how the heart becomes inflamed after Covid-19
The arrows show how the heart becomes inflamed after Covid-19.

The study sheds light on how the heart affected after suffering from Covid-19. But because the virus is new, the true long-term cardiovascular risks are still unknown.

According to the study authors, no pre-existing condition would have explained the damage. And only one-third of the participants hospitalized with Covid-19. The rest had been able to remain at home during the course of their illness. So despite feeling relatively well or having few symptoms, it’s clear that they have been left with heart problems.

Our findings may provide an indication of a potentially significant burden of inflammatory disease in large and growing parts of the population,” the study authors wrote.

The second study (How covid-19 Coronavirus affects the heart)

The second study included 39 autopsies of people who had died from Covid-19. These patients tended to be older, in their 80s. The researchers found evidence of the virus in heart tissue in 24 of the 39 patients.

In addition, five of those patients had signs that the virus was replicating in the heart tissue.

Investigating the long-term consequences

It is not clear how long this damage to the heart might last or whether it might increase patients’ risks of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problems in the future. But what does seem clear, from this study, is that SARS-COV-2 coronavirus cause significant damage to the heart.

The researchers further conclude that “these findings indicate the need for continued research into the long-term cardiovascular consequences of Covid-19.

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