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Updated March 25th, 2024 at 09:43 IST

Severe Lung Infection During COVID-19 Can Cause Damage To Heart: Study

As per the researchers, the findings could have relevance to organs beyond the heart and also to viruses other than SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19
Moreover, the risk was 20.1% among those who received only 1 of 2 doses while 22.1% among fully vaccinated ones 3 months before conception. | Image:Shutterstock
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A new study published in the journal Circulation has found that the novel coronavirus can damage the heart even without directly infecting the heart tissue. As per a news release by the National Institute ofHealth, the research specifically looked at damage to the hearts of people with SARS-CoV2-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome. As per the researchers, the findings could have relevance to organs beyond the heart and also to viruses other than SARS-CoV-2. 

More about the study 

Michelle Olive, Ph.D., associate director of the Basic and Early Translational Research Program at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, said, "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." It further added, "The research also suggests that suppressing the inflammation through treatments might help minimize these complications."

File photo of a model of heart | Image: Unsplash

The researchers focused on immune cells known as cardiac macrophages, which normally perform a critical role in keeping the tissue healthy and can turn inflammatory in response to injury such as heart attack or heart failure. 

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As a part of the research, heart tissue specimens from 21 patients who died from SARS-CoV-2-associated ARDS were analysed. These were then compared with specimens from 33 patients who died from non-COVID-19 causes. 

Matthias Nahrendorf, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, in the press release, said, "What this study shows is that after a COVID infection, the immune system can inflict remote damage on other organs by triggering serious inflammation throughout the body - and this is in addition to damage the virus itself has directly inflicted on the lung tissue."

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Published March 25th, 2024 at 09:43 IST

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