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‘Breathlessness, fatigue after Covid recovery can be signs of heart disease’

The virus involvement is seen in blood clot formation, known as thrombosis. It also leads to endothelium, the innermost layer of artery dysfunction. Patients who suffer such issues are disposed to a higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
April 20, 2021 10:17:49 am
Heart attack, heart diseaseCoronavirus is predominantly a respiratory infection but has been also noted to cause inflammation in different parts of the cardiovascular system, from muscles of the heart to blood supplying arteries. (Representational)

“Cardiac issues are being noticed in patients even after three months of recovery from Coronavirus infection. Difficulty in breathing, body fatigue and sweating are the more pronounced persistent symptoms even after months among Covid recovered patients. Attributing these symptoms always to sequelae of Covid infection may actually be misleading and the patients should always be evaluated for detailed cardiac check-up,” said Dr Rajneesh Kapoor, vice-chairman at Department of Interventional Cardiology at Medanta Hospital and a Punjab Rattan awardee.

Dr Kapoor added that Coronavirus is predominantly a respiratory infection but has been also noted to cause inflammation in different parts of the cardiovascular system, from muscles of the heart to blood supplying arteries. “In our large experience of treating Covid patients at Medanta, 10 per cent of Covid treated patients were found out to be harbouring serious heart dysfunctions,” he said. In another spectrum, many Covid treated patients also manifest cardiac complications months after resolution of Covid infection. One rare presentation of complete heart block, slow heart rate requiring pacemaker encountered in two patients almost two months post-Covid, added Dr Kapoor.

The virus involvement is seen in blood clot formation, known as thrombosis. It also leads to endothelium, the innermost layer of artery dysfunction. Patients who suffer such issues are disposed to a higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, he reflected. “We are getting cases of heavy breathing, palpitation, fastening of heart breath. Many of them, around 40 per cent, with a history of different levels of COVID-19 infection — mild, moderate, or severe. Even those who didn’t have any pro-cardiac issues can develop heart complications post Covid. Post recovery when these people face breathing complications, it is the lungs which are checked. An ECG test reveals heart conditions later. In context to resuming exercise regime post Covid, one should avoid exercising for 6 to 8 weeks after Covid and then gradually restart it, beginning with walks,” he asserted.

Dr Kapoor added that they are finding many cases with abnormalities in patients. “We are, therefore, conducting a study to understand the effect on the heart of those recovered. There are a lot of eco-cardiology issues that can be picked up to understand if there can be complications in the future. If we can identify, then we can be more vigilant,” Dr Kapoor maintained.

Patients, he said, can lower their risk of cardiovascular disease-related mortality by being careful on recognising the signs and symptoms. A simple ECG test can reveal if the symptoms are heart-related or not. Most of the heart-related diseases are completely treatable, provided medical attention is given on time, he summed up.

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