Is COVID-19 Leading To Heart Diseases? Doctor Shares Insight

The COVID-19 pandemic, stemming from the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has evolved into a global health crisis of unparalleled magnitude, says Dr TS Kler, Chairman and HOD- BLK-Max Heart & Vascular Institute, BLK Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi. The doctor points out that apart from its primary effects on respiratory health, recent findings indicate a troubling link between COVID-19 and heightened susceptibility to cardiac complications, notably cardiac arrest, particularly among younger demographics.

“Initially classified as a respiratory virus, the effects of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system have become more evident over time. Research indicates that the virus can directly affect cardiac tissues by infiltrating cardiomyocytes, triggering inflammation, oxidative stress, and myocardial damage. Additionally, COVID-19’s impact on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) worsens cardiovascular complications. ACE2, a pivotal component of the RAAS, acts as the virus’s gateway into cells, potentially disrupting the system’s delicate equilibrium and leading to cardiovascular dysfunction,” says Dr TS Kler.

Dr Kler adds, “While severe cases of COVID-19 have predominantly affected older individuals and those with pre-existing health conditions, reports of cardiac complications and cardiac arrest among young, previously healthy individuals have sparked concern. Studies suggest that the virus can induce a cytokine storm — an overactive immune response — resulting in widespread inflammation and organ failure, including the heart. Despite young adults being less prone to severe respiratory symptoms, they may still be vulnerable to these inflammatory reactions, which can lead to cardiac complications.” 

Also Read: What Is Alaskapox Virus And How Fatal Is It: Symptoms, Ways Of Transmission And More

Another emerging concern, Dr Kler points out, is the prevalence of long COVID — a condition marked by persistent symptoms that persist long after the acute phase of the illness has passed. “Cardiac involvement seems to be a significant aspect of long COVID, with reports of persistent chest pain, palpitations, and exercise intolerance. Even individuals who experienced mild initial cases of COVID-19 may develop these prolonged cardiac symptoms, potentially increasing their risk of cardiac events, such as cardiac arrest, among the younger population,” says Dr Kler.

As the connection between COVID-19 and cardiac issues becomes more evident, preventive measures take on heightened importance, the doctor points out. “Vaccination campaigns are pivotal in decreasing the occurrence of severe COVID-19 cases and, consequently, mitigating cardiac complications. Public health efforts must continue to prioritise vaccination, particularly among young adults, to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest. Moreover, post-COVID cardiac screening should be contemplated for individuals who have recuperated from the virus, irrespective of age, to identify any underlying cardiac abnormalities that might predispose them to future cardiac events. This is particularly crucial given the potential long-lasting impacts of the virus on cardiac well-being,” says Dr Kler.


(Views expressed by the expert in the article are their own, Zee News does not confirm or endorse the same.)