New Delhi: Some hospitals in Delhi have now started seeing cases of patients who develop serious heart conditions after being exposed to COVID-19, with multiple experts saying this is particularly worrying as such conditions are also being reported among people who had no history of a heart disorder prior to their exposure to the virus.

Dr Amit Bhushan Sharma, Director and Unit Head, Cardiology at Paras Hospital said that in COVID-19 cases, there are about 20 to 30 per cent chances of a person developing heart complications. “Even if the patient is healthy, their heart can get involved in few conditions, one is the inflammation of the heart and two could be clots in the heart, which can cause strokes in heart and brain. Initial research suggests the coronavirus attaches to certain receptors in the lungs, and those same receptors are found in heart muscle as well,” he told Millennium Post.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus typically enters cells through ACE2 muscle receptors, which are commonly present on the cell membranes of organs like kidneys, intestines, lungs and the heart.

Meanwhile, Dr Tapan Ghose, Director of Cardiology at Fortis Hospital said that many patients who had no previous heart conditions are reporting symptoms. “There were many patients who developed heart diseases, even though they had no history of heart issues,” he said.

When asked about the impact of such heart conditions, supposedly developing due to COVID-19 exposure, Dr Sharma said, “Determining how the virus affects the heart is difficult, in part, because severe illness alone can influence heart health. Inflammation is the first prerequisite for heart failure and, over a longer period of time, could leave important residual damage” that could set up the scenario for other forms of heart disease.”

Dr Ghose added that in such cases, complications develop in the heart muscle causing rhythm disturbances or difficulty in breathing due to cardiomyopathy. “These COVID infections may cause unstable pluck, patients may have heart attack-like symptoms. About 20 per cent of the patients who have been admitted due to COVID would have cardiac symptoms,” Dr Ghose said, adding that in some cases patients show cardiac symptoms without showing any respiratory symptoms.

Dr Ambuj Roy, Professor of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said that COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, however, as it is a part of a systemic disorder, it also impacts the heart. “I see it as part of a systemic disorder that severe COVID is. It doesn’t specifically affect the heart, but yes it is a part. One other manifestation is that COVID has the tendency to make blood clots. So, any disease that

gives you blood clot would also affect the vascular system,” he said, adding that timely interventions in that regard are crucial.

Meanwhile, Dr Sharma, who is intensively researching COVID-19’s relation to heart disorders, averred that in some cases, emerging heart problems are caused by the virus itself or as a byproduct of the body’s reaction to the virus.

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