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ER doctors emphasize cardiovascular complications linked to COVID-19

Experts are now diving into potentially long-lasting effects of the virus

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Photo (c) FilippoBacci - Getty Images
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia Health System explored the complications associated with coronavirus and highlighted cardiovascular issues that appear to be concerning. 

The study revealed that cardiovascular issues are prevalent among COVID-19 patients, and certain drugs can increase the risk for serious heart-related issues. 

“In writing this article, we hope to increase emergency physicians’ knowledge and awareness of this new pathogen and its impact on the cardiovascular system,” said researcher Dr. William Brady. “As we encounter more and more patients with COVID-19 related illness, we are increasing our understanding of its impact on the body in general and the cardiovascular system in particular.” 

Knowing the risks

The researchers analyzed previous studies, articles, and when applicable, interviewed emergency room physicians with hands-on experience with these cases. The main goal of the study was to highlight other potential complications associated with COVID-19 that go beyond respiratory issues. 

Ultimately, the researchers learned that COVID-19 patients are particularly susceptible to cardiovascular issues, and certain treatment options can make these events more likely. 

Their work found that both Remdesivir, a popular antiviral drug, and hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug used to treat coronavirus, can affect patients’ heart rhythm and cause issues with blood pressure and heart function. These risks were highest for those already taking daily medications. 

Additionally, the researchers found that properties of the coronavirus increase the risk for both stroke and heart attack, as it creates inflammation throughout the body. 

Because a great deal of research up to this point has focused on respiratory-related complications, the researchers hope that these findings illuminate how patients’ cardiovascular function can be affected by the virus. 

“As we gain more experience with this new pathogen, we realize that its adverse impact extends beyond the respiratory system,” said Dr. Brady. “We will continue to learn more about COVID-19 and the most optimal means of managing its many presentations.” 

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