Photo: Sergio Perez / Reuters
Scientists of the University of Westminster in the UK revealed how the coronavirus is capable of hitting the heart in people without cardiovascular disease. The findings of researchers about the danger of the pathogen to vital organs published in the online edition of The Conversation.
In severe COVID-19 can occur myocarditis — extensive inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). This changes the electrical conduction in the heart and affects its ability to pump blood. As a result, in all organs, including the lungs, gets less oxygen.
Pathological changes in heart function may be associated with several mechanisms. First, it is shown that in patients affected with cardiovascular system on the surface of heart cells have a large number of receptors ACE2, which coronavirus uses to penetrate inside host cell. Second, a weak immune system is not able to adequately fight the infection that leads to damage of vital organs.
To determine a virus hit the heart or not, the blood levels of the protein troponin. Critically ill patients in Wuhan, where the pandemic began, was recorded a high level of troponin. However, some patients develop fulminant myocarditis, the cause of which is presumed to be cytokine storm — an uncontrolled production of biochemical signals that activate Pro-inflammatory cells. As a result, the inflammation covers the whole body and leads to organ failure.
It is known that other respiratory viruses lead to cardiovascular complications. So, in 2009, the H1N1 swine flu virus in many patients caused disruptions in the functioning of the heart, while 62 percent of them suffered from fulminant myocarditis.
Video, photo All from Russia.