A Korean hospital in Daegu reported that a 21-year-old female patient infected with the new coronavirus developed myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
There have been reports of Covid-19 related heart disease cases around the world but it was the first time that Korea reported such a case. The report confirms that Covid-19 infection could damage not only the lungs but the heart.
Keimyung University Dongsan Hospital’s medical team, led by Professor Kim In-cheol at the Division of Cardiology, reported the case in a paper in the online issue of the European Heart Journal on April 13.
According to the report, the 21-year-old woman visited the hospital due to febrile sensation, coughing, sputum, diarrhea, and shortness of breath during the Covid-19 outbreak in Daegu, the nation’s fourth-largest city and the hotspot of the new coronavirus.
Various medical examinations, including a chest computed tomography (CT) and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), showed that she suffered from acute myocarditis combined with Covid-19, the report said.
One of the possibilities is that her lung function could have severely deteriorated with Covid-19 that oxygen could not be supplied to the heart muscle, media reports said. Another possibility is that she had an excessive immune response and developed a cytokine storm, which may have damaged the heart muscle.
Also, the Covid-19 virus could directly attach to the heart muscle and damaged it, just like it directly damages the lungs, they said.
“There is a receptor called ACE2. It is found mainly in the lungs but also in the heart. The Covid-19 virus uses it as a door to infiltrate the patient’s body,” Professor Kim was quoted as saying by a news program on SBS TV.
The hospital discharged the woman after providing treatment for over a month. However, her heart functions did not recover fully, and the patient was still receiving outpatient care, the hospital said.
A Chinese research team in Wuhan reported that about 20 percent of 416 Covid-19 patients suffered a cardiac injury, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Cardiology on March 25.
The State of New York also reported a patient who was diagnosed with myocarditis caused by Covid-19.
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