How does COVID-19 affect the heart?

There are some concerns about a heart condition in recovered COVID-19 patients.

Among those who have recovered from COVID-19, which is considered a respiratory infection, one of the more serious concerns is if they will develop a heart condition so many with the virus have developed in their recovery.

What is myocarditis?

One of the more serious and telltale COVID-19 symptoms is a shortness of breath, which can leave the heart with an inadequate level of oxygen.

A low level of oxygen can cause blood cells to inflame, possibly creating blood clots and potentially leading to a heart attack and strain on the heart.

Myocarditis, the heart condition often associated with COVID-19 in recovery, is an inflammation of the heart muscles, with viral infections of any type being a main cause.

What are the symptoms? Symptoms most associated to myocarditis are:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Arrhythmia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in extremities

Is it permanent?

In the limited studies of recovered COVID-19 patients, about 25 percent of hospitalized patients have been shown to develop a heart condition.

While heart disease is a major risk factor for developing this lasting effect, it's also been found in many patients who have no history of heart disease.

It's undetermined if this condition is permanent. Researchers say it's too early to reach a conclusion, with one board member of the American College of Cardiology saying there is still a lot to be learned.