How does having Covid-19 affect our heart?

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When the Covid-19 we had a lot of doubts. Questions that on many occasions not even the health workers could answer. However, fortunately, every day we know more and more the problems that this pandemic has left in our body once contracted the virus and have gone through the acute phase of infection.

Some of the sequels that specialists have noticed is that in some cases it is damaged the cardiovascular system. Specifically, thrombosis and inflammation are effects of enormous clinical significance in the cardiovascular system. In fact, the most exhaustive study carried out by Quirónsalud specialists confirms that patients discharged after their prolonged hospitalization have shown the presence of inflammation or edema in the myocardium no severe signs of myocarditis.

Evaluation of 367 patients who were hospitalized for Covid-19

For this reason, from the Cardiology and Diagnostic Imaging services of the Quironsalud University Hospital Madrid They have evaluated 367 patients who were hospitalized for Covid-19 between March and May 2020 and who have undergone a cardiac MRI.

The Dr. Javier Urmeneta, a cardiologist specializing in cardiac imaging at the aforementioned Madrid hospital, details that «we have identified the presence of myocardial edema in these patients through special mapping techniques and sequences to detect cardiac muscle alterations (mapping) and used for the early detection of this class of lesions ”, he explains.

The specialist Urmeneta, who is also the first author of the study Cardiac magnetic resonance in patients recovered by COVID-19 published in the October issue of International Journal of Cardiology: Heart & Vasculature, also valued cardiac contractility of patients through the technique of feature tacking and no significant alterations were observed in myocardial contractility.

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This study has been made possible by the availability of software advanced cardiac magnetic resonance image analysis (mapping y feature tracking). In this sense, the Dr. Vicente Martínez de Vega, Head of the Image Diagnostic Service, explains that thanks to these techniques it has been observed “that the edema that is not visible in conventional images, and that we have been able to observe and measure thanks to specific programs that analyze magnetic resonance images that allow us to assess edema at a microscopic level by analyzing the recovery time of protons from cardiac tissue when subjected to a magnetic field.

Drs. Cabrera, Urmeneta and Martínez de Vega. @ ChironHealth

A pioneering research work in Spain

The aforementioned work is the first cardiac magnetic resonance imaging carried out in Spain which shows residual myocardial edema in the context of an inflammatory systemic pathology that initially affects the respiratory system, while showing the low incidence of myocarditis involvement that would imply greater severity.

Moreover, as detailed, most of the patients analyzed they did not have their ventricular function affected and in general they did not show fibrosis (scars) in their heart muscle, so it is foreseeable that they will have a good prognosis in their evolution from a cardiological point of view “, says Dr. Urmeneta.

Therefore, create the Dr. José Ángel Cabrera, Head of the Cardiology Service of the Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital, “it is time to continue investigating and detect what is happening in the hearts of patients who have survived the virus invasion. We are studying the affectation of the cardiovascular system of the patients who have overcome the disease or present symptoms compatible with persistent COVID-19 ».

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