The lungs have been the one being mainly attacked by the coronavirus but lately doctors have also noticed that the heart is also being attacked by the virus as well.
It is has been discovered that every 1 of 5 patients end up having heart damage because of the COVID-19.A small study was carried out in Wuhan China this study was published on March 27 .It was discovered that even though some of the patients have previous case of heart conditions, others on the other hand do not. So could the heart condition be caused by the virus?
Cardiologists said different scenarios could be taking place: The heart may be having difficult in pumping blood if the oxygen is not sufficient ; the heart cells may be attacked by the virus directly and the body will try to fight the virus, and this could result in the mobilization of a storm of immune cells that will end up attacking the heart.
“The covid-19 is now the only virus that affects the heart,” said Dr. Mohammad Madjid,who is an assistant professor at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). It has been discovered that the risk of having a heart attack is thought to increase by six if the person has been infected with the flu virus.This was according to a study which was published in 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine. It has also been discovered that during influenza epidemics, many patients succumb to heart complications compared to pneumonia, according to a finding published on March 27 in the journal JAMA Cardiology. If a person has been infected by a virus the infection can disturb the flow of blood to the heart, causing irregular heartbeats and this will lead to a heart failure, according to the finds.
So it is really not surprising ” that novel coronavirus which now being referred to as SARS-CoV-2 can cause heart damage, it may be happening more frequently in these patients compared to those who are infected with other viruses, this was reported by Madjid,who is the lead author of the review, told Live Science.
The covid-19 might be attacking the heart directly. Dr. Erin Michos, the associate director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said we are saying people who have no history of having heart problems end up having heart damage.Heart damage is not common in mild cases of the corona virus , however it tends to happen more often in patients who have serious symptoms and are hospitalized, she said.
Though the virus mainly affects the lungs, it is moving in the bloodstream; so it is possible for the virus to attack and invade attack organs besides the lungs, so the heart is not spared Michos told Live Science.l The heart cells and the lung cells are both covered with surface proteins known as angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) — and t hese molecules act as “passage ” for the virus to gain access to the cells. However this enzyme acts more like a “double-edged sword,” she said. On one hand, the ACE2 molecule function as a doorway for the virus to enter the cell and multiply, but on the other hand, it normally acts as a “protective” function, Michos said “When the muscle of the heart is damaged and inflamed by the virus, the heart can no longer function,” she said.
It has been discovered that the novel covid-19 might indirectly cause damage to the heart. In this instance the patient’s immune system ends up “going haywire,” Michos said. This situation has played out in some patients who were really sick and they had highly elevated inflammatory markers — or their proteins showed high levels of inflammation in the body. This is referred to as a “cytokine storm,” Michos said. Cytokine storms cause damage to the organs of the entire the body, inclusive of the heart and liver, she went on to say. It’s however not yet clear why some people have such an elevated response compared while others do not but some people could be prone to it due to their genetics, she added. We then have some patients who already have existencing heart diseases whos risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 is very high — and their chances of not survivit are high . “Picture it this way , if their heart already have difficulty working … it won’t be strong enough to fight this challenge ” of not having sufficient oxygen due to the fact that their lungs are not working well. Cardiologists can identify if the heart is damaged by conducting a blood test using a protein called troponin. When the heart cells are injured, you can tell by the leaking of the troponin into the bloodstream. But “it’s not always easy to ” to figure out the kind of heart damage a patient is having, Michos said.”We are really witnessing variety of cardiac involvement,” Michos said. So it is really important to know “what’s causing the heart damage because the treatment vary accordingly.” For instance, if the virus had invaded the heart directly, the patient will need antiviral medications. However if it is the immune system causing the damage to the heart the patient will need immunosuppressants. As of now, no direct treatments deals with the COVID-19, and most of the treatment being administered currently include supportive care such as providing more Oxygen.
Experts from Australia and New Zealand are also strongly recommending people with hypertension, heart failure and cardiovascular disease who are already on these pills to keep using them, according to a study published on April 3 in The Medical Journal of Australia Some drugs are currently under going test to see if they can be used for treating COVID-19, these drugs include hydroxychloroquine — this is the drug that President Trump said could be a game-changer — could actually cause damage to the heart those experts said. Now, the main aim is to figure out if there is a genetic or biochemical reason why some people are more vulnerable to heart damage because of COVID-19 — and to find out as well what drugs can work best “to protect the heart from damage,” Michos said.