Potential Effects of COVID-19 on the Cardiovascular System
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Coronaviruses (CoVs) are single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses, with the capacity for rapid mutation and recombination. Coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory or intestinal infections in humans and animals. Acute respiratory infections, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and bacterial pneumonias, are well-recognized triggers for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and the underlying CVD is usually associated with comorbidities, which may increase the incidence and severity of infectious diseases. The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has rapidly grown into a pandemic.

A large proportion of patients have underlying cardiovascular disease and/or cardiac risk factors. Factors associated with mortality include male sex, advanced age, and presence of comorbidities including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and cerebrovascular diseases. Acute cardiac injury determined by elevated high-sensitivity troponin levels is commonly observed in severe cases and is strongly associated with mortality. Acute respiratory distress syndrome is also strongly associated with mortality.

Conclusively, Coronavirus disease 2019 is associated with a high inflammatory burden that can induce vascular inflammation, myocarditis, and cardiac arrhythmias. Extensive efforts are underway to find specific vaccines and antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. Meanwhile, cardiovascular risk factors and conditions should be judiciously controlled per evidence-based guidelines.

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2763846