Experts advise that anyone who has survived a serious case of COVID-19 infection should undergo heart check-up.
Physicians at online portal, Healthline, say though COVID-19 is associated with pulmonary symptoms, “the cardiac side effects are just as important to be aware of.”
This is even very important before the survivor begins to engage in physical exercise, the experts say.
They say COVID-19 patients who had mild cases of the virus or were asymptomatic, may not need to undergo heart screening unless their physician otherwise advises.
Speaking to the medium, Associate chair of medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, Dr. Thomas Gut, said, “We know that patients that had COVID-19, depending on medication treatments and severity of disease, have experienced a lot of inflammatory and clotting phenomenon in hearts and lungs that could impair blood flow to those organs.
“If you were to start becoming active again, and the heart and lungs start demanding more output, you can run into issues because of it,” Gut said.
The physician warned that exercising with heart issues related to COVID-19 can lead to irregular heartbeats or sudden cardiac death.
“That is why doctors want to ensure that patients who return to exercise after recovering from COVID-19 do so as safely as possible,” Gut added.
Various studies state that the mechanisms through which COVID-19 can cause myocardial injury are heterogeneous and include oxygen supply–demand imbalance, microvascular and macrovascular thrombosis, inflammation-related injury, stress-induced cardiomyopathy, and direct viral invasion of the myocardium.
The researchers say that nearly one in four persons hospitalised with COVID-19 develop myocardial injury or injury to the heart tissue.
People with COVID-19 have also developed thromboembolic disease or blood clots and arrhythmias.
“We’re concerned about the heart because there is a lot of data that has come out in people hospitalized with COVID-19 that demonstrates heart muscle involvement with the virus,” another researcher and assistant professor at the Department of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Dr. Sean Heffron, told the medium.
“With that knowledge, we’re concerned about long-term implications of COVID-19 infections on heart structure and function, and safety of exercise after infection,” Heffron said.
Starting to exercise too quickly, or taking on too much too soon, without being aware of the condition of your heart can have negative effects. This is due to the long-term effects of COVID-19, which are still being researched.
“The body, heart, and lungs operate off of demand,” Gut said. “The body needs more blood flow and oxygen [while exercising], which signals the heart and lungs to pump harder.”
“In a setting where the heart or lungs are limited or damaged, the heart or lungs can cause harm to themselves trying to exert just to maintain oxygenation and blood flow to all the organs,” he said.
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