While the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, mostly infects the lungs, cardiologists now believe that it could also affect the heart
With coronavirus cases in the UK almost at 20,000, fears about the rapid spread of the disease are growing.
From a high fever to a dry cough, COVID-19 is known to come with a range of nasty symptoms.
Now, doctors in New York have warned about a lesser known side effect – heart-attack like symptoms.
A patient presented at a hospital in Brooklyn with an ominous heart rhythm and high blood levels of a protein called troponin – two hallmark signs of a heart attack.
However, tests revealed that the man was not having a heart attack at all, and instead had been infected with coronavirus.
Thankfully, the patient recovered after 12 days in hospital, but his doctors have warned that his case may not be unique.
While the new coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2 mostly infects the lungs, cardiologists now believe that it could also affect the heart.
Speaking to the New York Times, Dr John Rumsefeld, chief science and quality officer at the American College of Cardiology, explained: “We were thinking lungs, lungs, lungs — with us in a supportive role.
“Then all of a sudden we began to hear about potential direct impact on the heart.”
The New York case comes shortly after a study by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston found that coronavirus can cause heart injury even in patients without underlying heart conditions.
Dr Mohammad Madjid, who led the study, said: “It is likely that even in the absence of previous heart disease, the heart muscle can be affected by coronavirus disease.
“Overall, injury to heart muscle can happen in any patient with or without heart disease, but the risk is higher in those who already have heart disease.”