Covid-19 Pandemic and Heart Diseases
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our lives in unprecedented ways. Given the lack of safe and effective vaccines or proven treatments for COVID-19, our main strategy to combat the pandemic is adhering to basic prevention formula of social distancing, wearing face masks, avoiding crowds and repeated hand -washing with soap. The capacity of health-care systems globally has been severely tested (and in some countries completely overwhelmed), and the effect of this pandemic on social interactions, health-care delivery and the global economy continues to mount.
Although the predominant clinical manifestation of COVID-19 is viral pneumonia, clinical studies have also reported an association between COVID-19 and cardiovascular diseases. COVID-19 can also cause cardiovascular disorders such as myocardial injury, arrhythmias, acute coronary syndrome and thromboembolic complications. Some patients who present without the typical symptoms of fever or cough have cardiac symptoms as the first clinical manifestation of COVID-19.
Myocardial injury during the course of COVID-19 is independently associated with high mortality. Potential drug-disease interactions affecting patients with COVID-19 and comorbid cardiovascular diseases are also becoming a serious concern. Cardiovascular comorbidities such as hypertension and coronary artery disease are associated with high mortality in patients with COVID-19. Finally, medications that have been proposed as treatments for COVID-19( though there is no absolute treatment yet available) such as hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have pro-arrhythmic effects- atrial fibrillation; ventricular fibrillation; ventricular tachycardia.
While patients being admitted to hospital emergency units with an acute heart attack have decreased, there is a marked increase in deaths from cardiac arrest at home. This can be probably due to the postponement and delay in seeking medical attention. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that heart patients must not ignore any symptoms and/or delay medical attention as it will further deteriorate their health.
When to Seek Emergency Care for COVID-19 and Heart Problems:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to watch out for:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
New loss of taste or smell
Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea
But heart and stroke symptoms also spell trouble and could signal COVID-19 infection as well. Watch for:
Chest pain or pressure, especially during physical activity
Facial drooping on one side of the face
Arm weakness or numbness on one side of the body
Speech changes, including slurred or garbled speech
Loss of vision
Risk factors (Non-Modifiable)
You may be born with certain risk factors that cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing coronary heart disease.
The majority of people who die of coronary heart disease are 65 or older. While heart attacks can strike people of both sexes in old age, women are at greater risk of dying (within a few weeks).
Current Trends in Cardiology