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Cardiovascular complications from COVID-19?
COVID-19 can cause serious cardiovascular complications such as heart failure, heart attacks, and blood clots, which can lead to strokes. The treatment of COVID-19 can also interact with drugs that are used to treat existing cardiovascular diseases. This should be strictly observed when treating the disease.
In the current study by the research group led by Dr. William J. Brady of the University of Virginia has discovered that COVID-19 can cause serious cardiovascular complications that promote stroke, and it can also interact with drugs used to treat existing cardiovascular diseases. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Complications were not given enough attention
Much attention has already been paid to respiratory complaints or so-called pulmonary (respiratory-related) complications with COVID-19, but the cardiovascular complications that can lead to death or permanent impairment have so far not been given sufficient attention, the researchers report.
Information on COVID-19 is constantly changing
Therefore, the research group wanted to improve not only the understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on the body in general, but in particular also the effects on the cardiovascular system. The learning rate in this area is currently surprisingly high. Information changes weekly, if not daily, the research team reports. Based on an evaluation of the previously available scientific publications, the scientists have now analyzed the current state of knowledge.
24 percent of people with COVID-19 suffered from heart failure
Heart failure is therefore a particularly big problem for people with COVID-19. According to the research team, a study had previously shown that almost a quarter of people with COVID-19 (24 percent) had acute heart failure when they were first diagnosed with coronavirus. However, this does not mean that 24 percent of all people with COVID-19 will suffer from heart failure.
Heart failure due to COVID-19?
It is still unclear whether the heart failure was specifically caused by COVID-19 or whether the virus worsened undiagnosed heart failure, the researchers explain. However, almost half of the people with heart failure were not known to have high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases.
Danger from severe inflammation in the body
COVID-19 and other diseases can cause severe inflammation throughout the body. This increases the risk that fatty plaques accumulated in the blood vessels will tear open and lead to heart attacks and strokes. Influenza and certain other viruses have already been linked to an increased risk of so-called plaque ruptures within the first week after diagnosis of the disease, the researchers report.
Dangerous drug interactions
The research group also describes the possible drug interactions in COVID-19. For example, an anti-malarial drug called hydroxychloroquine can interact with drugs that regulate heart rhythm, cause heart damage, and worsen cardiomyopathy. Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that is the only FDA-approved COVID-19 treatment, can lead to low blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythm, the researchers continue to report.
Interactions should be taken into account
The above interactions should be taken into account when treating people with COVID-19. "With increasing experience with this new pathogen, we become aware that its adverse effects go beyond the respiratory system," adds Dr. Brady added. As time goes on, more information about COVID-19 and the best ways to handle its numerous presentations will become known.
Knowledge about COVID-19 needs to be expanded
"With this article, we hope to expand the knowledge and awareness of emergency physicians about this new pathogen and its effects on the cardiovascular system," summarizes study author Dr. Brady of the University of Virginia in a press release. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Brit Long, William J.Brady, Alex Koyfman, Michael Gottlieb: Cardiovascular complications in COVID-19, in American Journal of Emergency Medicine (published 2020), American Journal of Emergency Medicine
- Heart Attacks, Heart Failure, Stroke: COVID-19’s Cardiovascular Complications, University of Virginia (Published May 15, 2020), University of Virginia