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COVID-19 linked to heart damage in recovered patients, study suggests

02 Aug 2020
The cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 are investigated in small-scale studies. (Shutterstock)
The cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 are investigated in small-scale studies. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 02 Aug 2020
02 Aug 2020

Arab News Japan

As the coronavirus disease continues to inflict considerable global mortality, new evidence by two German studies published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Cardiology suggests that people who recover from COVID-19 may have lingering heart damage and inflammation months after their initial diagnosis.

The first study, conducted in Germany, involved 100 adults aged 45 to 53 who had recently recovered from CIOVID-19. Around one-third of the participants required hospitalization, while the rest recovered at home.

Demographic characteristics, cardiac blood markers, and cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging were obtained by researchers and compared the findings to healthy volunteers.

The study revealed that 78 patients (78%) of the patients that recently recovered from COVID-19 had heart abnormalities and 60 patients (60%) of the patients had ongoing inflammation in the heart muscle.

Additionally, the study detected elevated levels of high-sensitivity troponin, a protein released by the heart following an injury, in 71 (71%) patients that had recently recovered from COVID-19 and significantly elevated levels in 5 patients (5%).

Although a small percentage of recovered patients showed highly elevated levels, the presence of this protein in the blood, and mild cases of heart inflammation have the ability to heal without medical intervention, the long-term consequences of the findings are still unclear.

Conclusively, the study highlights the need for ongoing investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19.

Another study, also conducted in Germany, involved the analysis of autopsy findings from 39 older adults aged 78 to 89, who died from COVID-19. The study found evidence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the heart tissue of 24 (61%) of patients, indicating the occurrence of myocardial infection in the autopsy cases of patients with COVID-19.

The two studies collectively raise an evident concern that the COVID-19 pandemic could result in an increase of heart failure and highlight the need for ongoing investigations that further evaluate the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19.

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