Published on June 1, 2021

AHMEDABAD: More than a year into the pandemic, heart seems to be at the receiving end in a significant number of Covid-19 patients. In several instances, the patients recovered from Covid-19 infection after a short hospital stay for complications drop dead suddenly at their homes. In other instances, the patients with no cardiac ailment history turn up with severe chest pain or drop in heart rate.

Experts say Covid-19 patients are more vulnerable to thrombosis, myocarditis and heart failure. Dr Tejas Patel, senior interventional cardiologist and member of Gujarat Covid task force, said it is important to check D-dimer levels to prevent chance of heart attack due to hyper-clotting.

“If a patient’s D-dimer level is very high, he or she must continue blood thinners for two to four months after getting recovered from Covid-19 infection as thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and heart failure are frequently seen among Covid recovered patients,” he said.

Experts especially red-flag myocarditis or simply inflammation of the heart walls as a significant and oft-reported complication. Dr Anish Chandarana, vice-president of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA), said data collated from the private hospitals treating Covid and post-Covid patients indicated a high prevalence of myocarditis.

“Myocarditis is more frequently seen in the second wave. Its prevalence can be 20 to 70% in patients according to some studies among Covid patients. In several cases it can turn fatal if not addressed timely. We thus recommend the patients showing any signs of distress to undergo troponin tests. If the level is high, the person may require intervention,” said Dr Chandarana.

Dr Sameer Dani, senior interventional cardiologist, said that in simple terms myocarditis is generally associated with severe infection. “Its detection is generally done through Echocardiography or MRI of the heart,” said Dr Dani. He added they have witnessed a rise in the instances of patients coming with myocarditis.

Dr Anil Jain, senior cardiac surgeon, said that Covid infection increases the risk of heart ailments due to the attack on the body’s immune system and formation of blood clots (thrombosis). “Post-Covid check-up of the heart can be life-saving especially for the patients with existing conditions and comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension,” he said.

Dr Jay Shah, a city-based cardiologist, said that the Cardiology Society of India (CSI) has flagged myocarditis as a risk factor. “It reduces the pumping capacity of the heart – leading to severe heart failure,” he said.

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