COVID-19 can damage the heart, even without infecting it, study says – Boston Herald

Hunter Boyce | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)

COVID-19 can damage your heart, even when the virus doesn’t directly infect cardiac tissue. That’s the latest from a recent study supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Published in the journal Circulation, the study observed the damaged hearts of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome associated with the virus and determined that COVID-19 patients suffering from severe lung infections were at risk of heart damage. The findings may prove to be relevant to organs other than the heart and to viruses other than COVID-19, as well.

COVID-19 increases a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, more than 50% of COVID-19 patients experience some inflammation or damage to the heart, according to imaging research.

But does the virus damage the heart because it directly infects heart tissue or because of systemic inflammation? The answer might save lives.

“This was a critical question and finding the answer opens up a whole new understanding of the link between this serious lung injury and the kind of inflammation that can lead to cardiovascular complications,” Michelle Olive, Ph.D., told the NIH. “The research also suggests that suppressing the inflammation through treatments might help minimize these complications.” Olive is associate director of the Basic and Early Translational Research Program at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

To answer the question, researchers studied mice subjected to biological signals that mimicked lung inflammation.

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