During this time of great turmoil in our society, it is important to understand some important facts that the medical community has learned about the COVID – 19 virus and its effect on the heart.
The COVID – 19 virus mainly causes an acute respiratory illness which can lead to significant respiratory failure from a severe inflammatory response by the body.
The virus can cause a similar inflammatory response on the heart causing heart muscle damage (myocarditis) and heart failure. Patients can also present with chest pain and palpitations and symptoms can mimic a heart attack.
Patients with underlying cardiac disease (previous heart attack, coronary artery disease, cardiac failure) or cardiac risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes are at increased risk of developing severe disease and requiring intensive care or dying from COVID-19 infection.
It is important that we all understand that this virus can cause heart damage as well as lung damage and that patients with underlying cardiac disease are at particular risk from this infection.
If you have an underlying cardiac condition, it is important to protect yourself from this infection by observing strict social isolation and to present early if there are any signs of a respiratory illness.