mysterious heart complication kills patients

© Istock

While we’ve been focusing for weeks on respiratory problems and the artificial respirators, while the number of Covid-19 symptoms continue to multiply (fever, intestinal problems, respiratory disorders, but also conjunctivitis, skin lesions …), doctors, especially Americans, are them, struggling with a new “medical mystery” …

In addition to lung damage which we are told about since the beginning of the epidemic, many patients also develop cardiovascular problems – before finally dying ofcardiac arrest.

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Covid-19: it can be fatal for people with cardiovascular disease

It was already known from a clinical bulletin published by the American College of Cardiology, that the lethality rate of Covid-19 in people with cardiovascular disease was 10.5%. It was also known that people over 65 suffering from coronary heart disease orhypertension were also at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 and developing more severe symptoms leading to intensive care.

But Covid-19, which is now known to have fatal consequences for people with underlying cardiovascular disease, could also cause heart damage in patients … not suffering from any heart problem, as recounted by our colleagues from the American health website WebMd, relaying an article from the journal Henry J. Kaiser.

Scientific data shared by China and Italy, as well as Washington and New York State in the United States: the new coronavirus may well attack the heart muscle.

These attacks could cause heart failure, then death – even in people who initially had no symptoms of respiratory distress. Hence, no doubt, the need for better adapted medical care, particularly in the early stages of the disease.

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Coronavirus attacks lung receptors, also found in heart muscle

A major problem for medicine, at present, it is difficult to determine whether the heart problems observed are caused by the virus itself or if they result from the body’s reaction to it. Serious illness alone can damage the heart muscle. Pneumonia, for example, can cause generalized inflammation, which in turn can lead to a heart attack.

Illustration: myocardium

Illustration: myocardium© Istock

In previous epidemics of coronavirus and influenza, researchers have shown that viral infections can cause acute coronary syndromes, arrhythmias and the development or exacerbation of heart failure … Doctors have known for a long time already, moreover, that any important medical event, even simple operative surgery, can stress enough to harm the heart.

However, for Dr. Bonow, a professor of cardiology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and editor of the medical journal JAMA Cardiologyles, the damage seen in patients with Covid-19 could stem from the virus directly infecting the heart muscle. Initial research suggests that the coronavirus attaches to certain receptors in the lungs, while these same receptors are also found in the heart muscle.

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