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Does COVID harm the heart? Maybe not

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By Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporters

FRIDAY March 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Is COVID-19 Helping Create heart pre-existing heart problems, or are people with pre-existing heart problems just more prone to the disease?

The question remains unclear, with a new UK study found that people with heart problems appear to have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

“In this research, we found that poorer heart structure and function is linked to a higher risk of subsequent COVID-19. This is important because some studies have suggested that COVID-19 can cause structural damage to the heart. However, these studies only use heart scans of people after infection, so they cannot be certain if poor heart structures preexisted COVID-19, ”explained the study’s lead researcher. Zahra Raisi-Estabragh. She is a Clinical Research Fellow at Queen Mary University, London.

In their research, investigators in London analyzed the medical records of 310 people in the British Biobank database. It includes information on the health and genetics of more than half a million people, including detailed MRI scans of their hearts and links to Public Health England’s COVID-19 test results.

Researchers found that people with pre-existing unhealthy heart structures and poorer heart function were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those without heart problems. This remained true after taking into account factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, poverty, Diabetes, arterial hypertension, high cholesterol, and previous heart attack.

“In our study, we used imaging data obtained before COVID-19, and showed that many of these abnormalities pre-exist and likely predispose people to COVID-19, rather than occurring as a result of an infection, ”Raisi-Estabragh explained in a college newspaper. Release. “This is a very important distinction to guide our management of patients with COVID-19.”

But two experts in the United States who have read the new study said the jury may not yet know which comes first, heart problems or COVID-19.

“Numerous studies have demonstrated the harmful impact of COVID-19 on the heart,” noted Dr. Aeshita Dwivedi, cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “Heart complications from COVID-19 include heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, as well as changes in the structure of the heart. “


The new study “raises the question of what proportion of heart abnormalities identified after COVID-19 may have been present before infection,” she said. “It alludes to the fact that people with abnormal hearts are more vulnerable to infection with COVID-19.”

But Dwivedi said the study was small and at this point simply raises a key question about COVID and the heart. “Larger-scale, long-term studies are needed to answer this question and improve our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the heart,” she said.

Dr. Michael Goyfman directs clinical cardiology at the Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, also in New York. He said that due to the design of the study – a look back at old data – “causation cannot be inferred or implied.” Other factors could explain the link, Goyfman said.

For example, “it is possible that patients with heart disease may have more severe symptoms of COVID-19 and therefore be more likely to be tested for COVID-19, ”he said.

Viral infections in general can cause inflammation and damage to the heart, and the high prevalence of COVID-19 may explain the prevalence of heart complications, ”Goyfman said.

“There is currently a lot of uncertainty around the relationship between the heart and COVID-19,” study director Steffen Petersen, professor of cardiology at Queen Mary University, said in the statement. “Further studies in diverse populations and contexts are needed to definitively answer these questions.”

The study was published on March 8 in the journal Clinical and experimental research on aging.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on COVID-19[female[feminine.

SOURCES: Aeshita Dwivedi, MD, cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Michael Goyfman, MD, director, clinical cardiology, Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, New York; Queen Mary University of London, press release, March 9, 2021

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