The Cardiac Manifestations After the Pandemic – How Has the Virus Impacted the Heart? 

 August 18, 2022

A huge-scale scientific study arrived at the conclusion that COVID-19 patients were vulnerable to heart ailments after a year of the disease. It maximizes the occurrences of arrhythmias, clots, heart failure, and various other conditions. According to researchers who evaluated health records of over 153,000 U.S veterans with covid opine, the risk of heart ailment risk has significantly grown based on the severity of the covid ailment.

Several patients have witnessed fatigue, brain fog, loss of smell, and weakness that still persists after months of tremendous infection. Today, the medical community has come to believe that the “long covid” symptoms can get associated with cardiovascular ailment risk in COVID-19 survivors.

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How does the virus affect our heart?

The pandemic resulted in a mammoth loss, due to the cardiac ailments and the virus itself. In a study conducted by MyBioSource, there were about 3.9 million deaths globally because of the pandemic. About 182 million cases of the pandemic got recorded globally, leading to various cardiac arrest. In March 2020, a study highlighted that 27.8% of the people who got hospitalized because of the pandemic have also suffered a heart problem. A few of them already had heart-related ailments before. There was more research in the U.S and Europe that carried on throwing light on this fact.

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The essential learnings of the pandemic phase

People who suffer from the novel coronavirus infection are at an increased risk of heart ailments, comprising non–ischemic heart ailments, dysrhythmias, myocarditis, cerebrovascular disorders, pericarditis and thromboembolic disease. In most cases, the virus has resulted in the following:

  • 45:29 incidents of prespecified cardiovascular outcome
  • 19:86 occurrences of dysrhythmias that comprises of 10.74 events related to atrial fibrillation
  • 23:49 occurrences of the MACEs (Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events) comprise stroke, myocardial infarction, and all-cause mortality.
  • 12:72 occurrences of various other cardiovascular problems, which comprises of 11.61 events related to heart failure along with 3:56 occurrences of nonischemic cardiomyopathy
  • 7:28 incidents related to ischemic heart disease, which includes 5:35 incidents of severe coronary ailment
  • 91 incidents associated with myocardial infarction
  • 5:48 incidents related to cerebrovascular disorders that comprise of 4.03 incidents associated with a stroke
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The patients who have suffered other severe ailments, where the doctors had to decide whether they can get recovered at home or need to get hospitalized, under an intensive care unit, posed increased risk. Even the ones that got hospitalized had an increased risk. Several other groups found out that there were other risks irrespective of obesity, gender, race, age, hypertension, smoking, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.

COVID-19 can lead to myocarditis, arrhythmias, and heart failure

The coronavirus can also result in severe inflammation of the heart. It is called myocarditis, which can stop the heart from functioning correctly. No one knows how and why, but the pandemic infection can cause damage to the heart and lead to heart failure and arrhythmias. Hence, it is a risk that doctors should understand and also monitor hospitalized patients.

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The doctors should evaluate the BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) levels to determine if the patient is witnessing any heart failure. Dr. Glassberg asserts, “As the heart muscle gets stretched, this protein is released to the bloodstream. When the BNP levels are high in people suffering from the pandemic, it indicates that they have heart failure and heart injury that can result in other critical health risks. It has been observed that close to 10 to 20% of the patients have developed arrhythmias because of getting infected by the coronavirus.

The troubled hearts

Individuals who have recuperated from coronavirus have shown a dramatic rise in 20 heart-related ailments within a year of getting infected. For instance, almost 52% of the infected people were vulnerable to stroke in comparison to others. It means out of every 1000 people that got studied, every 4 posed a risk of experiencing a stroke after recovering from the virus.

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The chances of having heart failure went up by almost 72%, or close to 12 more people in the group of people who got affected by the virus. It is intriguing to believe that hospitalization maximizes the chances of future cardiovascular complications. However, even the ones who didn’t get hospitalized posed a threat of heart ailments.

We are somewhat in a catch-22 situation, as the medical community says that people with a healthy immune system can also suffer. It is because the healthy immune system can overreact to the virus and lead to inflammation that impacts the organs, called the cytokine storm. No one knows what makes a person more hyperinflammatory than others. People with a sound immune system might only have to undergo cough and a low-grade fever. However, an immune system that’s in overdrive can lead to cellular impacts, which can infiltrate the heart and lead to weakness and heart muscle inflammation. The ideal solution is to avoid getting affected by the virus. But since no one can guarantee that, it is necessary to get in touch with a healthcare professional when you feel you might have COVID and take all the required medical measures to recover and live better.

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