COVID-19 Patients are getting cardiac issues but most people unaware: Cardiologist at Paras Hospitals, Gurugram
Dr. Amit Bhushan Sharma,
Associate Director, and Unit Head Cardiology
- Nearly 80 percent of COVID patients have heart damage, says a recent study
- It needs to be managed soon, it will be a looming healthcare crisis
As the times are changing, the COVID-19 infection is also surprising us with its newness. Doctors at Paras Hospitals, Gurugram have found out that the coronavirus is not only affecting the respiratory organs but also the heart and the worst part is people are still not aware of it. Patients have the risk of damaging their hearts as a result of COVID-19.
According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Cardiology, nearly 80 percent of COVID patients have heart damage. The MRI scans of 100 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, most of whom were otherwise healthy and in their 40s and 50s, showed that 78 of the patients (78 percent) had signs of heart damage. Furthermore, 60 percent of the patients showed signs of inflammation.
Dr. Amit Bhushan Sharma, Associate Director, and Unit Head Cardiology, Paras Hospital Gurugram, said, “A large number of patients are going into the hospital to be treated for COVID-19 and are coming out as heart patients. The need of the hour is to have an ongoing investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19. If it’s not managed at the right time, we believe this may be a looming healthcare crisis that will put a greater strain on hospitals and patients for whom chronic cardiac issues will be a lasting remnant of the Coronavirus crisis even after the vaccination. Unfortunately, India with a population of 1.34 billion people, doesn’t have a widespread awareness on cardiac diseases despite the high mortality rate and morbidity.”
The fact that the recovered COVID patients had evidence of ongoing heart involvement means that the heart is involved in a majority of patients, even if COVID-19 illness does not scream out with the classical heart symptoms, such as anginal chest pain. The coronavirus infiltrates the body by binding to a type of receptor on cells called ACE2. These special receptors are found not only in cells in the kidneys and lungs but also in the heart.
“ACE2 receptors are essentially docking sites for the virus. But it’s also possible that the heart damage seen in coronavirus patients occurs secondary to the viral infection because the body is unable to deliver enough oxygen to organs as COVID-19 hits the lungs hard, making it difficult for people’s bodies to get the oxygen it needs. The damage could also be the result of the virus’s effects on the blood, which can lead to clots. The heart pumps blood through thousands of tiny capillaries, which are highly susceptible to clots,” added Dr. Bhushan.