INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Coronovirus has been detected in the US by approximately 4.5 million people. Previously, doctors hoped that the virus would only cause short-term damage and a full recovery is possible.
But new research suggests that there is otherwise increasing evidence that COVID-19 may have lasting consequences.
In a study published online on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology, doctors followed up to 100 German patients who had overcome coronovirus between April and June 2020. The goal was to determine if there was any lethargic effect, especially for the heart.
Doctors took blood samples and all patients underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR). The results of the tests were compared with 50 healthy people who worked as a control group.
The study’s findings showed a higher high-sensitivity troponin T level – a blood marker used to diagnose heart damage in 71 of the previously diagnosed patients, compared to the control group. The results of CMR tests showed significant decline in the heart’s ability to pump blood in 78 patients. In addition, patients showed left ventricle enlargement which is a predictor of heart attack.
There were also elevated levels of four other biomarkers – myocardial native T1 in 73% of people and myocardial native T2 in 60%. Thirty-two percent of patients presented with myocardial late enhancement, while 22% showed pericardial enhancement. All four of these blood markers have signs of inflammation, swelling and scarring of the heart tissue.
Not all patients had any history of heart disease prior to their coronavirus infection, which, the authors write, indicates the need for ongoing research of long-term cardiac outcomes associated with COVID-19.
Medical Reporter of News 8, Drs. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral science researcher. He is a health, medical and science reporter for five years. His work has been featured in national media outlets.