In the last couple of months, India has witnessed a big jump in the number of heart attacks. The alarming rate of cases of people suffering from heart disease post-COVID recovery triggered new fears among the medical fraternity on how the virus is impacting the human heart, and whether the recent heart attacks are connected to the SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19. Let’s understand the connection and know whether the recent spate of heart attacks is linked to COVID-19.
Can COVID-19 Damage The Heart?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that attacks the lungs after entering the body. However, the virus does more that this post-infection. Studying the recent cases in the country, experts have stated that COVID-19 can also impact the heart. As India is witnessing a sudden spike in the number of heart attacks in the post-COVID era, doctors are worried about whether this is one of those post-COVID severe symptoms that a person may suffer after recovery from the infection. Speaking to the media about the several recent deaths among youngsters in connection with heart attacks, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, “We saw so many young artists, athletes, sportspersons…they died on stage while performing. We all saw that, and reports started coming in from several places. We needed to investigate.”
What Happens To The Heart After Catching COVID?
We spoke to Dr Thangaraj Paul Ramesh, Senior Consultant Cardiothoracic, Heart And Lung Transplant Surgeon, Apollo Hospital, Chennai, Adjunct, to understand the dangerous connection between the heart and COVID-19 virus. Watch the video to know everything.
Various Ways COVID Affects The Heart
Expressing his concern over the rising heart attack deaths in India, the health minister said that a team of experts are investigating if there is a possible link between COVID-19 and heart attack. “The government has commissioned research to find the link between the recent spate of heart attacks in young people with Covid, and the results are expected in two-three months,” he said.
Some of the ways the COVID-19 virus infection affects the heart are:
Inflammation of the heart
Earlier, in a report, John Hopkins stated that COVID-19 virus infection can cause temporary or lasting damage to heart tissue due to several factors. The virus can infect and damage the heart muscle tissues after entering the organ. It can have a severe impact on the inner surfaces of the veins and arteries. This can cause severe inflammation in the blood vessels which can lead to the formation of blood clots inside the heart, a condition which is medically termed as thrombosis. These blood clots can compromise the blood flow to the heart, increasing the chances of an individual suffering a heart attack.
Lack of Oxygen
The severe inflammation inside the heart caused by the COVID-19 virus can lead to a condition where fluid can build up in the air sacs of the lungs, restricting the oxygen flow to the bloodstream. This is when the heart requires to work hard to push or pump blood throughout the body. The sudden overwork or insufficient oxygen can cause cell death and tissue damage in the heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack.
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