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78% Covid-19 patients develop heart condition, study finds

It is not just the lungs that get severely affected in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients but also the heart, according to a new study that found that as many of 78% of Covid-19 patients monitored developing a heart condition, independent of pre-existing conditions. To be sure, the study was based on a small sample and needs further (and more extensive) research and validation, but it adds to the number of body organs affected by the virus.

The study also found that 60% of those infected with Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, had an ongoing myocardial inflammation (swelling of heart muscles); it has been published in the journal ‘JAMA Cardiology’ on Monday.

The study, Outcomes of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients Recently Recovered From Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), looked at the cardiovascular effects in patients who suffered from Covid-19.

Data from about 100 recovered patients from the University Hospital, Frankfurt’s Covid-19 registry between April and June 2020 was analysed for the study.

“…cardiac magnetic resonance imaging revealed cardiac involvement in 78 patients (78%) and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60 patients (60%), which was independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and the time from the original diagnosis,” the study added. .

The researchers emphasise upon the need for studying in detail long-term cardiovascular consequences of Covid-19.

Experts in India have also been asking for examination of clinical data to know the long-term health impact among Covid-19 patients post recovery as there have been observations made by clinicians on recently recovered patients experiencing long-term effects.

“It is a huge percentage, and looks like induced by virus or its after-effects such as inflammation. There is a need for large studies to reach a conclusion but that would require funding and access to data,” says Dr Giridhara Babu, head, Life Course epidemiology, Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India.

Clinicians here have observed that Covid-19 leads to other long-term health complications involving kidneys, liver, even eyes in patients after discharge from hospital.

The joint monitoring group under the Union health ministry’s technical wing- Directorate General of Health Services, is independently reviewing clinical data available so far to draft guidelines for managing post-recovery health complications.

“Our experts are working on putting a document together to guide people on what kind of long-term care would be required,” said Rajesh Bhushan, officer on special duty, health ministry.

The group is chaired by Dr Rajiv Garg, director general health services, along with specialist doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, and representatives of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and World Health Organisation (WHO) office in India .

The data is being collected from several hospitals across the country that are treating Covid-19 patients. The hospitals include three from Delhi: The central government-run Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, and Lady Hardinge Hospital. Apart from these, clinical data is also being sought from six other All India Institute of Medical Sciences that treat Covid-19 patients. – Hindustan Times

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