Covid-19 and the heart; two new studies suggest connection

Heart damage in coronavirus patients

In the lungs, "the best available data suggests that it's probably no more than 5% of individuals with COVID will go on to develop scarring or a fibrotic condition", said James Hull, a sports respiratory specialist in London who has worked with the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health.

"We have understood for a few months that Covid-19 is not just a respiratory infection but a multi-system infection", said cardiologist Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the NYU Women's Heart Program and senior advisor for health strategy. female at NYU Langone Health in NY, who was not involved in any of the studies.

The study used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging to determine the effects of COVID-19 on the patients' hearts.

However, it could explain why some survivors have been left weak and tired long after recovering from the virus itself.

The control group of 50, who were around the same age, gender and race, were considered to have normal heart health and weren't on cardiac medication prior to catching the virus. The immune cells of the COVID-19 patients were noted to react to different fragments of the viral envelope than the immune cells of the healthy samples: the T-helper cells of the patients recognized the spike protein in its full length, while those isolated from the healthy samples were primarily activated by sections of the spike protein which showed similarity to corresponding sections found in the spike protein of common cold coronaviruses. Analysis of cardiac tissue revealed the virus had infiltrated the hearts of 24 of the patients.

Doctors will test for troponin when they suspect that someone has suffered a heart attack and so they can diagnose it.

Yet another study proved that there was an involvement of the heart in COVID-19 patients.

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The cause of death for 35 of those patients was listed as pneumonia.

The most concerning diagnosis is myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, which can lead to scarring of the heart, Kim said.

"Taken together the studies support that SARS-CoV-2 does not have to cause clinical myocarditis in order to find the virus in large numbers and the inflammatory response in myocardial tissue".

But the scientists also discovered that the virus was actively replicating itself inside the tissue until the patient died. She added: "The fact that not all patients with COVID-19 showed this T-helper cell response to viral fragments is probably due to the fact that T cells can not be activated outside the human body during an acute or particularly severe phase of an illness".

Another major study published earlier this month found that more than half of those in hospital with Covid suffered heart damage.

"These findings indicate the need for continued investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19", the researchers wrote.

The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), also found that around one in seven had evidence of severe dysfunction. Sixty patients suffered inflammation of the heart.

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