Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | virus | covid-19 | heart health | cardiac

Coronavirus May Cause Deadly Cardiac Complications

a medical team at a drive-through coronavirus testing clinic in huntsville, alabama
A medical team at a drive-through coronavirus testing clinic in Huntsville, Alabama. (Dan Busey/The Decatur Daily via AP)

By    |   Friday, 20 March 2020 01:57 PM

A leading expert warns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have "alarming" cardiac complications due to the coronavirus.

Dr. Michael Orlov, a cardiologist at Boston's St. Elizabeth Medical Center, told Fox News that data coming out of Italy and Europe in general shows that the deadly virus can wreak havoc with your heart.

Orlov says he is worried that healthcare professionals may not have enough equipment to deal with the complex treatment needed to address cardiac issues. But experts say there are precautions we can take to ensure our heart health, especially the more than 120 million Americans living with heart disease.

According to an article published in The Washington Post, despite the fact that the virus attacks the lungs, Dr. James Town, an intensive care physician who has been battling the disease in Seattle, says most patients die of cardiac, rather than respiratory, failure.

Data shows that patients who were admitted to hospitals in Wuhan, China, with COVID-19 showed evidence of cardiac injury in 59% of patients who died. Because the virus can cause massive inflammation throughout the body, it can also cause dangerous inflammation of the heart. Therefore, people with heart disease should take extra precautions.

Dr. Haider J. Warraich, a cardiologist at the VA Boston Healthcare System, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, offers these tips to the Post:

  • Take the same precautions as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for everyone: stay at home, avoid crowds, clean your hands and your surroundings often.
  • Make sure caregivers have access to the phone numbers of your heart care team or primary care physician.
  • Stock up on any medications and make sure that your doctors issue sufficient refills to have on hand.
  • Make sure that you have a thermometer and blood pressure machine at home.
  • Monitor your body closely for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 such as a temperature above 100 degrees, difficulty breathing, or coughing.
  • Let caregivers and a medical team know these symptoms. If you experience worsening shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion, or drowsiness and bluish lips, call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room.

"Heart disease remains the leading killer of people in the United States and around the world, and it's not ready to give up that distinction any time soon" says Warraich. "With the right precautions and with heightened vigilance, we can try to ensure that COVID-19 doesn't help increase that toll."

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A leading expert warns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have "alarming" cardiac complications due to the coronavirus.
virus, covid-19, heart health, cardiac
Friday, 20 March 2020 01:57 PM
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