Study Finds Heart Damage in Most Recovered COVID-19 Patients
In March, researchers found that patients with underlying cardiovascular disease were more likely to suffer fatally from COVID-19. A recent study investigated whether the virus was damaging myocardial cells and the long-term cardiovascular damage after recovery.
- The study found cardiovascular abnormalities in 78 percent of the recovered patients.
- Myocardial inflammation was signalled in 60 percent of the subjects.
- Only 33 percent of the participants needed hospitalization due to COVID-19, suggesting the cardiovascular damage resulted from the disease regardless of the illness’s severity or any preexisting conditions.
“Our findings demonstrate that participants with a relative paucity of preexisting cardiovascular condition and with mostly home-based recovery had frequent cardiac inflammatory involvement, which was similar to the hospitalized subgroup with regards to severity and extent,” the researchers reported.
- The abnormalities may have been present before COVID-19, or the infection could have amplified pre-existing cardiovascular damage.
- It remains unclear whether these post-COVID-19 effects are permanent or yield long-term consequences
A second study looked at heart tissue from autopsies of COVID-19 patients, which exhibited traces of SARS-CoV-2 in more than 60 percent of the subjects.
- This study supports the finding that the virus affects the heart.
- “There is evidence now that the virus can directly attack heart muscle cells, and there’s also evidence that the cytokine storm that the virus triggers in the body not only damages the lungs, but can damage the heart,” says John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert from UC Berkeley.