New findings suggest that the stress of severe COVID-19 may be harming the heart in unusual ways.
MONDAY, April 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Eighteen patients with severe COVID-19 treated at a New York City hospital showed the classic signs of a heart attack on their electrocardiograms.
But a closer look at each case revealed that more than half of these patients didn't have a blockage in a major artery, the typical trigger of a heart attack. Thirteen of the 18 patients died of cardiac causes while in the hospital, said a team from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.
These findings, published April 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that there's something about the stress of severe COVID-19 that may be harming the heart in atypical ways, said one cardiologist who wasn't involved in the report.
"As we continue to learn about the impact COVID-19 has to our heart, we have begun to identify unique and unusual effects," said Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, also in New York City. "Some patients present with abnormal EKGs, which can classically look as an acute heart attack, but without a true finding of a blocked artery."
The real underlying cause for some cardiac deaths in these patients may be the stress, physical and otherwise, caused by COVID-19, Bhusri theorized.