Post-Covid heart attacks a new challenge for Kerala

People aged between 30 and 40 and without any history of heart ailments succumbing to attacks; even asymptomatic patients at high risk, say experts

Published: 19th October 2021 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2021 06:05 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Though the Covid second wave is in its last lap in the state, the severity of post-Covid ailments has emerged as a huge challenge in Kerala’s fight against the virus. The recent spike in post-Covid heart attacks and related deaths have baffled health experts. What is also alarming is that people in the 30-40 age group, many of them without any history of heart ailments, are succumbing to the attacks, said doctors.

Myocardial infarction (blockage of blood flow to the heart vessel), myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), arrhythmia (irregular beating of the heart), acute coronary syndrome (any condition caused due to reduced blood flow to the heart) and even cardiotoxic effect from the use of steroids to treat Covid are the main reasons for the increased fatality rate, said doctors.

“We are understanding Covid only now. Several patients are experiencing heart attacks after recovering from Covid. As of now, there is no proven data as to why this is happening. Hypothetically, Covid-causing thrombogenicity (tendency to cause blood clots) could be the reason,” said Dr K K Pradeep, a Kochi-based cardiac surgeon. 

“Those with a history of heart issues and high-risk patients are given blood thinners to reduce complications. It is believed Covid makes the blood denser, resulting in clots that cause heart attacks. In the post-Covid phase, cases of strokes and heart attacks are seeing a rise. Only through more studies can we get a clear picture of the real cause,” he said.

As on Sunday, the total Covid death toll in the state rose to 26,865. “What is scary is that asymptomatic patients or those who do not know that they are infected are also at high risk of heart attacks,” Pradeep said. Studies had revealed that 5 out of 10 Covid patients, or 50%, with severe infection were more vulnerable to heart attacks within days or weeks of recovery.

“The second wave is witnessing a spike in post-Covid heart attacks. Having heart ailments increases the chances of developing severe issues. Those with severe Covid infection and requiring ICU or ventilator facility are at more risk too as they undergo stress cardiomyopathy. Also, extreme care should be taken while administering steroids during Covid treatment,” said Dr Nasser Yusuf, cardiothoracic surgeon in Kochi. Neglecting the warning signs before the actual symptoms appear could be serious, said doctors, who advised people to be vigilant about warning signs, including sudden chest pain, sweating and tiredness. Anxiety and stress-related to Covid also played the main role in weakening the heart, they said.  

Don’t take it lightly
A Thrissur-based general medicine professor said post-Covid symptoms should not be taken lightly. “Post-Covid clinics in private and government hospitals should be upgraded with facilities to detect major complications. The health department should also give more stress on addressing the rise in post-Covid issues,” said the professor.


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  • akhil

    An article about heart without a comment from Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology?
    8 months ago reply
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