More than half of COVID-19 patients who received heart scans had heart damage, according to a study published in the journal European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Imaging.
The research included 1,216 patients, 813 who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and 298 who were classified as likely to have the virus. The remaining 105 were also deemed to be COVID-19 cases,
From April 3 to April 20, each was given an echocardiogram ultrasound heart scan.
“COVID-19 is a complex, multisystem disease which can have profound effects on many parts of the body, including the heart,” Professor Marc Dweck, consultant cardiologist at the University of Edinburgh, U.K., said in a statement.
“Many doctors have been hesitant to order echocardiograms for patients with COVID-19 because it’s an added procedure which involves close contact with patients. Our work shows that these scans are important—they improved the treatment for a third of patients who received them,” Dweck said.
Based on the scan, roughly 55% of patients had heart damage, and one in seven patients had “severe abnormalities.”
Approximately 70% of the patients were male, and their average age was 62.
About 60% of the scans were conducted in an ICU unit or emergency room and others were performed in general medical settings. Roughly, 54% of patients were diagnosed with severe COVID-19.
“Damage to the heart is known to occur in severe flu, but we were surprised to see so many patients with damage to their heart with COVID-19 and so many patients with severe dysfunction
“We now need to understand the exact mechanism of this damage, whether it is reversible and what the long-term consequences of COVID-19 infection are on the heart.”
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