More Studies Show COVID-19 Has Long-term Heart Impact

Most years are 365 days long, a leap year has 366, 2020 has about 1,000 days! All the way back in the bygone days of early April, we wrote a blog about how COVID-19 patients had new or worsened heart damage. Months on from that, we now know more about the virus and how it attacks so many organs in the body.

COVID-19 can cause extreme immune responses that can cause damage similar to a heart attack. It can also cause blood clots and buildup of plaque. This can happen to people across the board — regardless of risk factors.

We’ve understood for a few months now that COVID-19 is not only a respiratory infection but a multi-system infection,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of NYU Women’s Heart Program. “There is an acute inflammatory response, increased blood clotting and cardiac involvement. And the cardiac involvement can either be due to direct involvement of the heart muscle by the infection and its inflammatory response. It could be due to blood clots that are formed, causing an obstruction of arteries. Sometimes people have very fast heart rates that can, over time, weaken the heart muscle, reduce the heart muscle function. So there are multiple ways during this infection that it can involve the heart.”

MRI scans of 100 COVID-19 patients two months after they had recovered showed that 78 percent had heart anomalies, and 60 percent had inflammation. That was independent of preexisting conditions. So, regardless of what they had had beforehand, more than half of the 100 people had inflammation afterward.  

It’s very important that patients control their cholesterol, their diabetes, try and exercise and don’t smoke, all the usual things, but that we all know have become incredibly difficult in the COVID-19 era,” said cardiologist Dr. Paul Cremer of the Cleveland Clinic.

We know that everyone is doing their best to avoid becoming ill. If you do catch the virus, speak to your doctor before starting to exercise again. You should be cleared before going back to your regular routine. Any illness impacts people differently, and each person’s recovery is different. Take time to figure out what is best and healthiest for you!
August 07, 2020
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