BREAKING! COVID-19 Causing An Unprecedented Heart Crisis. All Recovered Patients Urged To Go For Heart Screenings Even Asymptomatic Individuals
: Despite early reports and studies that showed the heart was affected by a variety of ways by the SARS-CoV-2 infection including just recent studies that showed the SARS-CoV-2 was able to attack the heart tissues directly and despite so many numerous articles that that showed that the emerging impact of the COVID-19 on heart health, in the last few days doctors and researchers are realizing the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on the heart health across the general populations worldwide. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-covid-19-news-researchers-find-sars-cov-2-virus-particles-in-heart-tissues-of-deceased-covid-19-patients-indicating-it-attacks-hearts-directl
In fact if studies that are underway prove to be right, thousands of deaths globally that occurred in the last few months that were classified as due to heart failure or due to heart related issues were actually COVID-19 related deaths that were missed. (Just for illustration purposes, there have been reports that heart issue related deaths have increased in the last 6 months in numerous countries and cases of young otherwise healthy people suddenly dying from heart failure is on the rise.)
Numerous emerging studies suggest many COVID-19 survivors experience some type of heart damage, even if they did not have underlying heart disease and weren't sick enough to be hospitalized. This latest twist has health care experts worried about a potential increase in heart failure.
Dr Gregg Fonarow, chief of the division of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles told Thailand Medical News, "Very early into the pandemic, it was clear that many patients who were hospitalized were showing evidence of cardiac injury. More recently, there is recognition that even some of those COVID-19 patients not hospitalized are experiencing cardiac injury. This raises concerns that there may be individuals who get through the initial infection, but are left with cardiovascular damage and complications."
Dr Fonarow said these complications, such as myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, could lead to an increase in heart failure down the road. He's also concerned about people with pre-existing heart disease who don't have COVID-19 but who avoid coming into the hospital with heart problems out of fear of being exposed to the virus.
He added, "The late consequences of that could be an increase in heart failure. It is much safer if having symptoms that could represent heart attack or stroke, to come into the emergency department than to try to ride it out at home."
Studies have shown that nearly one-fourth of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have been diagnosed with cardiovascular complications, which have been
shown to contribute to roughly 40% of all COVID-19-related deaths.
However two recent studies suggest heart damage among those infected may be more widespread.
A study published in the journal: JAMA Cardiology which consisted of an analysis of autopsies done on 39 COVID-19 patients identified infections in the hearts of patients who had not been diagnosed with cardiovascular issues while they were ill. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2768914
Yet another study also published in JAMA Cardiology study used cardiac MRIs on 100 people who had recovered from COVID-19 within the past two to three months. Researchers found abnormalities in the hearts of 78% recovered patients and "ongoing myocardial inflammation" in 60%. The same study found high levels of the blood enzyme troponin, an indicator of heart damage, in 76% of patients tested, although heart function appeared to be generally preserved. Most patients in the study had not required hospitalization. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2768916
Dr Mina Chung, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University said, "There's a group of people who seem to be more affected from the cardiac point of view."
However, she said, it can be difficult to identify who is at risk, or for those recovering from the virus to know if they're having heart problems.
Dr Chung, who is leading the coordination of more than a dozen ongoing COVID-19 research studies funded by the American Heart Association added, "A lot of individuals end up feeling exhausted for a while. They can't get up to the exertion level they were at before. But it's difficult to tease out whether or not it's the lungs taking a little more time to heal or whether it's a cardiac issue."
She further added, "If things continue to get better with time, that's a good sign. It's not unexpected that if you have not been active for a while, you get deconditioned and may have shortness of breath if you push yourself."
The issue whether screenings to detect cardiovascular damage should become a routine part of follow-up care for COVID-19 patients remains unclear.
Dr Fonarow, who co-authored an editorial accompanying the two JAMA Cardiology studies said, “The bottom line is, we don't know. Before any recommendations are made for routine cardiac imaging, we need additional studies that help identify the frequency of this occurring and what the risk factors are."
Dr Chung and Dr Fonarow advise those recovering from COVID-19 to watch for the following symptoms and to consult their physician or a cardiologist if they experience them: increasing or extreme shortness of breath with exertion, chest pain, swelling of the ankles, heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat, not being able to lie flat without shortness of breath, waking up at night short of breath, lightheadedness or dizzy spells.
Dr Fonarow said, "But for someone who has had COVID-19 and recovered with no symptoms of heart trouble, it's unknown whether there is a reason to have additional screenings. If there are concerns, they should discuss this with their physicians."
He added, “It's also possible that some of the cardiovascular damage researchers are seeing could heal itself. We've seen with other viruses where there is inflammation of the heart, there are individuals for whom there is spontaneous recovery. In some people, we can treat this effectively with medication. The question becomes specifically with COVID-19, what is that frequency and does it differ from other viruses that infect the heart."
Despite the recommendations by these two doctors and despite the fact there has been no official guidelines issued by any medical organizations or boards with regards to heart screenings for all recovered COVID-19 patients, other medical experts are recommending that for their sake of their health, all recovered COVID-19 patients irrespective as to whether they were only having mild symptoms or were asymptomatic or worse the groups who never even knew they were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as they were never tested but are occasionally seeing symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath or occasional dizziness etc., take the initiative to arrange to see their physicians for heart screenings as soon as possible. (It should be noted that some countries where the public healthcare system is already overstressed or due to financial reasons, the medical boards and health authorities there are not putting human health as a first priority and hence are not advocating heart screenings as a priority despite the growing studies and evidence.)
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