COVID-19 cardiac study suggests increased heart health risks for patients

About 55% of the patients in the study had abnormal pumping changes in the heart.

There is a growing body of evidence pointing to the fact that COVID-19 can have a serious impact on the heart.

A study out of the UK is trying to determine what kind of damage is being done and how common these complications are. A large portion of the study is being conducted in the United States.

“You can become breathless with COVID-19. Other symptoms related to heart failure are swelling in the ankles, and we’ve seen some of the patients in the study presented with chest pain and other patients presented with palpitations. So, it’s really the classical cardiac symptoms,” said Dr. Marc Dweck, a University of Edinburgh researcher.

Researchers examined ultrasound scans of more than 1,200 hospital patients in 69 countries. They were surprised to find that more than half of those patients had worrisome heart scans:

  • 55% of patients had abnormal changes to the way the heart was pumping blood.
  • 1 in 7 patients had damage that was considered severe
  • Blood clots from COVID-19 were also a concern, and a higher risk factor in causing strokes and heart attacks

The majority of patients in the study had no previous health problems.

These COVID-19 patients were all referred to the study because heart complications were suspected. We wouldn’t expect to find those numbers in COVID patients overall.

There will still be survivors that require cardiac care and monitoring indefinitely. A prior coronavirus infection may be considered an additional risk factor down the road.

About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.