Coronavirus is turning out to be a multi-system involvement disease. It not only affects your lungs, brain but also the heart. To quote one of these, a 45-year-old previously healthy gentleman, who had recent corona infection 1 month ago, approached Apollo Spectra Hospital, Pune, developed chest pain and shortness of breath for 10 days. His ECG showed evolved changes of heart attack. He had stopped taking aspirin. His echocardiography revealed compromised heart function.He was taken up immediately for coronary intervention which revealed 100 percent thrombotic occlusion of one artery and 90 percent thrombotic stenosis of another major coronary artery. He underwent angioplasty immediately successfully on both the arteries and was stabilized in ICU after 2 days of the procedure. He was discharged with advise of regular follow-up there after. There are many patients like him who are witnessing cardiac issues post-Covid.
Dr Pramod Narkhede, Cardiologist, Apollo Clinic, Pune highlighted, “After getting infected with Coronavirus, patients belonging to the age group of 30-50 years face breathlessness due to pneumonia and lung infection and missed out cardiac issues masked by the cough and breathlessness. Post covid, marked increase in acute cardiac issues were seen in previously healthy individuals too..the viral syndrome can range from occurrence of systemic hypertension (blood pressure), minor palpitation, to serious life threatening arrhythmias, heart attacks, heart failures, acute pulmonary embolism and other vascular events like peripheral arterio-venous occlusion and stroke.
These problems more commonly seen from the acquisition of infection to within 2-3 months of the recovery from Covid infection. Around 5 out of 10 patients visiting in cardiac OPD are post covid with new cardiac abnormalities. Those who have cardiac issues already should be cautious as well.”
Dr Pramod Narkhede added,” The reason behind heart damage can be attributed to high level of inflammation in one’s body which tends to damage some healthy tissues, including the heart. Covid infection and inflammation impacts blood vessel and heart muscle causing increasing clotting tendency compromising blood flow to the heart and even other parts of the body and hampering the pumping capacity of heart. Once you spot signs like dizziness, light-headedness, sudden palpitation, hypertension, vomiting, sweating, and shortness of breath, chest pain then immediately should consult the doctor.”
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment will help these patients to lead a good quality life decreasing the morbidity and mortality. “To take care of your heart, eat a diet high in fiber and protein. (Try to eat fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and pulses.) Do not eat spicy, oily, processed, or junk food. Manage your hypertension and cholesterol by regularly monitoring it. Exercise every day, maintain an optimum weight, avoid alcohol and smoking. Post-Covid, patients should go for close follow up for cardiac screening test like ECG, ECHO to monitor the functioning of the heart,” concluded Dr Pramod Narkhede.