Doctors worldwide report that an infection with Sars-CoV-2 can damage not only the lungs, but also the heart.
Several studies have shown that in patients with severe Covid 19 courses, a biomarker in the blood, which is released by destroyed and dying cardiac muscle cells – as is the case with a heart attack, for example – was often raised, the so-called cardiac troponin. According to scientists, this is a sure indication that Sars-CoV-2 also attacks the heart.
Problem also observed in Switzerland
“We have repeatedly observed this in Covid 19 patients in the intensive care unit in Triemli,” says Franz Eberli, chief physician of the cardiology clinic at the city hospitals Waid and Triemli in Zurich, Switzerland. However, none of them has led to a measurable malfunction.
The situation is different at the Zurich University Hospital, where many of those affected also had a troponin increase, often in combination with muscle breakdown in the heart. “One patient developed a heart attack including cardiac arrhythmia,” said Peter Steiger, deputy director of the Institute for Intensive Care Medicine. She was very sick and subsequently died.
“Another patient also showed signs of myocardial damage. However, unlike classic heart attacks, his coronary arteries were open.” This shows that the complaints related to Covid-19.
What causes the damage to the heart is still completely open. As Wissenschaft.de writes, it is currently conceivable that the virus itself causes these, but also that they are a consequence of the immune reactions triggered by Sars-CoV-2.
Cardiac specialists such as Robert Bonow from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago could consider four to five mechanisms through which the virus could gain access to the heart muscle cells, according to the “Scientific American”.
An example of this is given by cardiologist Eberli: “The Sars-CoV-2 enters the cell via the ACE-2 receptor. The ACE-2 receptor is also present in the heart. It is therefore clear that the viruses also use the heart muscle cells infested. ” This is also suggested by the fact that some patients felt palpitations and palpitations at the beginning of the infection, as well as a feeling of pressure in the heart area.
No pattern recognizable
Researchers around the world have already published on heart damage, including scientists led by Shaobo Shi from Wuhan University. Of the 416 people with Covid-19 who had examined them for their study published in the journal “Jama Cardiology”, one in five suffered from heart problems. Those affected also had a significantly higher risk of death.
Why some patients have more heart problems than others remained unclear in this work. Apparently, both people with and without previous cardiological diseases could suffer heart damage, according to Eberli. Age doesn’t matter either.
There is no explanation for this yet. According to Bonow, it could be due to a genetic predisposition. However, it is also conceivable that the patients whose heart was severely affected were exposed to a higher viral load.
Health worker risk
According to the researchers, it is important to find out more about the background as quickly as possible. As the cardiologist platform TCTMD.com reports, there have been cases in which patients with typical symptoms of a heart attack went to the emergency and were treated accordingly because of the troponin in their blood. Only then do you notice that these are actually Covid 19 cases.
This is problematic, since the wrong assessments could lead to doctors and nurses becoming infected.
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