Coronavirus can cause heart damage — even in patients without any underlying cardiac issues, according to a troubling new study.
The research, published last Friday in the journal JAMA Cardiology, found that 19.7% of a group of 416 infected patients hospitalized in Wuhan, China, suffered damage to their hearts.
“We know that the cardiac injury risk is there, no matter if you had prior heart disease or not,” lead author Dr. Mohammad Madjid, who is an assistant professor of cardiology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, told Healthline.
The study also determined that the death rate was much higher for patients who experienced heart issues. There were 51% of the cases with cardiac problems who died compared to 4.5% of those without, researchers said.
“In my experience, I realized that more people actually die of heart disease rather than [the complication of] pneumonia, so that [the study findings] was not a surprise for me — that from China, that myocardial injuries are very much related to death in these patients,” Madjid said.
Dr. Sreenivas Gudimetla, a cardiologist at Texas Health Fort Worth and Texas Health Physicians Group, said doctors can alter care for patients to combat the effects of the virus on the heart.
“Without a vaccine for a cure from the infection, only aggressive, supportive care can be rendered, such as maintenance of blood pressure, treating heart failure with drugs, treating secondary infections, support of renal function, and support of respiratory status, which can require ventilators,” he told Healthline.