KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Covid-19 damages not just the lungs, but also other organs in the body, CNN reported.
CNN cited two new studies that showed Covid-19 may lead to possible prolonged impact on heart health in people who recover from the novel coronavirus, and that it may have led to cardiac infection in those who succumbed to Covid-19.
A cardiologist and medical director of NYU Women’s Heart Program, Dr Nieca Goldberg, who was not involved in the studies, explained to CNN that “there is an acute inflammatory response, increased blood clotting and cardiac involvement.”
“There are multiple ways during this infection that it can involve the heart,” she was quoted saying.
One of the studies published in JAMA Cardiology, based on 100 recovered Covid-19 patients aged 45-53 in Germany, used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, blood tests and biopsy of heart tissue. It was found that the virus somehow affected the heart, regardless of any pre-existing conditions, the time from diagnosis, or the severity of their infection.
Myocardial inflammation, also called myocarditis, where there is abnormal inflammation of the heart muscle, was the most common heart-related symptom.
The researchers called for more investigation, as the study was not based on a large group of patients, youths under 18, and people who currently battle the disease instead of those recovering from Covid-19.
The second study, which analysed 39 autopsy cases of people aged 78 to 89 from Germany, reported that the virus could be identified in the heart tissue of deceased Covid-19 patients.
Almost half of the patients who had the virus in their heart tissue did not show signs of myocarditis, however, puzzling researchers. More research is needed among younger patients.
Goldberg commented that the autopsies “showed us something else that’s interesting – that you can have viral presence but not the acute inflammatory process”.
Dr Dave Montgomery, another cardiologist from Georgia, USA who was not involved in the studies, summarised from the two published research that “the heart can be infected with no clear signs”.
Montgomery said that generally, viruses make their way to organs that are distant from the original site of infection, though what makes the SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes Covid-19 — different is that it appears to preferentially attack cardiac cells and the surrounding cells.