Physicians and researchers are starting to discover, the coronavirus has damaging affects on more than just the lungs. COVID-19 is considered a respiratory illness, in which the patient’s symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, HCPs are starting to see cases of the coronavirus leading to heart damage, and cardiac arrest. Cardiac damage is becoming so prevalent in COVID-19 patients, that nearly 20% of patients are showing signs of heart failure, even when the patient has never experienced underlying heart problems.
Because COVID-19 is still a relatively new virus, researchers still don’t know for a fact why cardiac damage can be a result from infection. Researchers, however, have speculated COVID-19 causes heart problems for one of two reasons. The first reason is there is an increased risk of arrhythmias, when the lungs are not working properly, and the heart is not receiving enough oxygen. The second possibility is that the virus could directly affect the heart. HCPs are worried that with this new discovery, they may have to rethink their strategy for treating COVID-19 patients. New equipment will be needed, new precautions will be created for those with existing heart conditions, and new recovery plans will be given for those who have survived but still suffer from a damaged heart as a result of the virus.
The most important step to understanding the coronavirus, is discovering whether the heart problems are caused by the body’s conditions, once infected with corona, or if the coronavirus attacks the heart directly. A more in-depth study showed that of the nearly 20% of patients that showed effects of heart damage as a result of corona, over half were much more likely to die, as opposed to the 4.5% who showed no signs. Gathering information during the pandemic, has proven to be troublesome, patients often come into the hospital needing help immediately and are too sick to be studied invasively. The sheer number of patients coming into the hospitals everyday has overwhelmed HCPs to the point where it’s hard to just focus on any one patient. There are also many different factors to consider when studying individuals infected with COVID-19. Ethnicity, age, genetics and prior health conditions, all seem to be factors in determining how badly somebody is at risk from dying from COVID-19.
With HCPs revising their treatment plans and recovery strategies, to adhere to this new discovery, it becomes more apparent that COVID-19 is a virus that is more deadly than most had initially predicted. Just in the US alone, over 13 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, with over 250,000 deaths, which is the highest of any country in the world. The one semblance of good news seems to be that scientists and researchers have reportedly come close to finding a COVID-19 vaccine, and that disbursement to the public is predicted for early 2021.