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Medical News & Perspectives
February 10, 2021

Researchers Investigate What COVID-19 Does to the Heart

JAMA. 2021;325(9):808-811. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.0107

The first sign of heart damage was in their blood. In early case reports from Wuhan, China, where the novel coronavirus emerged, an unexpected number of patients hospitalized with the respiratory infection had elevated levels of cardiac troponin, a marker of myocardial—heart muscle—injury. Next came the echocardiograms suggesting functional abnormalities in many patients’ hearts. Soon it was obvious that myocardial injury heralded poor prognosis for patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“It was quite clear that people that came into the hospital sick that had heart injury were the ones that were at greatest risk of requiring mechanical ventilation and, ultimately, at the greatest risk of dying,” said Aaron Baggish, MD, director of the cardiovascular performance program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Statistical controls?
    DV Williamson |
    All this work is great, but it would help to add perspective by comparing the effects on the heart (if any) of other viruses, including other coronaviruses. For example, do some number of viruses that induce the "common cold" also affect the heart in similar ways? Basically, is the novel coronavirus exceptional in some ways and not in others?