Long COVID Heart
Infection with COVID-19 has shown us many unique medical problems caused by the virus. Once you as a patient get out of the danger zone with your initial infection, you may not be out of the woods. Many patients COVID-19 are reporting new problems beginning many weeks later. A number of body systems seem to be injured by this virus. The heart and blood vessels is one we are learning more about.
Long COVID Heart
The most interesting source of this information comes from a recent study published in Nature Medicine by Xie et. al. showing that COVID-19 produces a number a serious disorders that become evident weeks after recovery from the initial infection. They include:
- Strokes (due to blood clots in the blood vessels of the brain);
- Heart Rhythm problems;
- Heart attacks (ischemic heart disease);
- Inflammation around the heart (pericarditis);
- Inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis);
- Heart failure; and
- Blood clots in vessels throughout the body.
Even minor symptoms from COVID-19 have been assciated with these disorders!
What To Do About It?
Be on the lookout for symptoms. Long COVID has a broad set of symptoms that appears at least four weeks after the initial COVID-19 infection. Symptoms in this list related to the heart and blood vessels should alert your doctor to the possibility that more serious disorders exist. More testing will be needed in each case to make sure you are ok.
Treating Long COVID Heart
So far, the disorders of the heart and blood vessels from COVID-19 are treated using standard, well established medicines or procedures. Whether we can prevent the development of these disorders is not yet known.
My job as a physician is to evaluate your symptoms, get a diagnosis of the underlying disorder, and launch treatment and/or intervention. Perhaps in time, there will be specific treatments and interventions for heart and blood vessel problems caused by COVID-19. For now, you keep an eye on your health and I’ll watch the scientific and medical literature for new information.
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