It is seen that the coronavirus, which is rapidly spreading worldwide and causing COVID-19, leads to the heart-damaging effects in 1 out of 5 people. In the last few months, we have seen that the COVID-19 pandemic is primarily linked with the respiratory problems and its symptoms, leading to the need for ventilators among such patients. The respiratory symptoms have achieved massive attention by the doctors, but this latest damaging effect over the heart has made the healthcare workers puzzled. COVID-19 patients, in addition to the lung damage, are developing heart-damaging effects leading to cardiac arrest in critically ill patients.
Due to the latest data from different countries worldwide, including the US, China, Italy, and others, it is now believed by the cardiac experts that coronavirus can also infect the heart and lead to devastating effects over the heart muscles. During the initial study, it was seen that 1 out of 5 patients suffered from cardiac damage resulting in heart failure and, ultimately, death in patients even without the signs of respiratory impairment.
This new revelation can grab some attention from the frontline healthcare workers who have been focusing on respiratory distress. This latest revelation regarding the damaging effect over the heart can lead to the need for new equipment, new preventive measures, and new therapeutic agents, especially for people who have preexisting damaged heart muscles or who suffered from heart damage due to COVID-19. According to Ulrich Jorde, he says that it is ultimately essential to identify the real cause of heart damage. He says that it is still unknown whether the virus is responsible for heart damage so that treatment can be done accordingly, and we can save lives in the end.
IS THE VIRUS RESPONSIBLE FOR HEART DAMAGE?
Researchers and doctors are still seeking to figure out whether the virus itself is responsible for the heart problems or the byproducts of metabolic reactions against the infection are leading to the emerging illness. It is yet to be determined that the virus itself is causing heart failure or the severe disease is leading to damaged heart muscles. Dr. Robert Bonow says that the COVID-19 patient who is ultimately suffering from bad pneumonia will end up suffering from cardiac arrest ultimately. He further explains when the body is unable to receive oxygen because of the damaged lungs, and then everything stops working.
But many cardiac specialists, along with Bonow, believe that heart damage can occur due to various ways rather than the respiratory symptoms alone. Some patients might get affected by two or more pathways at the same time leading to a damaged heart. Doctors have known from past studies and research that any severe medical surgery or an illness can cause a damaging effect over the heart. Pneumonia or any other inflammation can cause enough stress over the heart leading to stress over the heart muscles. Certain conditions can cause blockage of the arteries, lead to weak heart muscles, cause myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the myocardium that can cause weakening of the heart muscles, and ultimately heart failure. Bonow further explains that the damage to the heart in COVID-19 patients can also occur due to the virus infecting the heart muscles directly by getting attached to the receptors present over the heart muscles.
INITIAL DATA GIVEN BY CHINA:
According to multiple studies published by China in March, it was seen that heart dysfunction seen in COVID-19 patients. The study was conducted on 416 hospitalized patients, which showed that 19% of these patients suffered from heart damage. 51% of such patients died while 4.5% without any effects over the heart survived. Patients who had past heart disease history suffered from significant damage. However, heart damage was also seen in patients who were healthy before they got infected by the virus. Bonow explains that the rate of cardiac effects varies from person to person due to the genetic predisposition or excess exposure to viral loads. It is, therefore, essential that the doctors and researchers should collaborate and find out the exact cause of heart damage in COVID-19 patients. Heart markers must be closely monitored to find out further details.
OBSTACLES DURING THE REVELATIONS OF HEART DAMAGING EFFECTS BY CORONAVIRUS:
Doctors and researchers are facing hurdles due to the limited data available online or by the hospitals. Healthcare workers are trying to limit their exposure to the virus by avoiding any invasive procedures like biopsies or using electrocardiograph for such patients. However, doctors and researchers are making enough efforts to compile data, publish findings, and compile trends to know most of the cardiac complications in such patients. Doctors are performing immediate clinical trials to find out the latest therapeutic agents and drugs which can help in treating the cardiac complications in such patients. Sorting out the effects of the virus over the heart can help in getting rid of the cardiac implications in COVID-19 patients. Still, there need to be various studies and clinical trials to determine the therapies for such effects over the heart with excess viral overload.