Covid-19 linked to reduced heart function, study finds

Covid-19 is associated with impaired function of the right side of the heart, a new study in intensive care patients finds. The study, led by experts from NHS Golden Jubilee, aimed to help improve future care and outcomes for those most at risk for Covid-19, by better understanding the impact the virus is having on the sickest patients. requiring invasive ventilation.

The Covid-RV study was conducted in 10 intensive care units across Scotland and examined 121 critically ill patients treated with ventilators due to the impact of the coronavirus on their systems. Researchers found that about one in three patients in the study showed signs of abnormalities on the right side of the heart — the area that pumps blood to the lungs.

Nearly half (47%) of the ventilated patients in the study died from Covid-19, a figure comparable to national and international death rates.

dr. Philip McCall, lead author of the study and advisor in Cardiothoracic Anesthesia and Intensive Care at NHS Golden Jubilee, said: “A combination of factors creates the perfect storm for Covid-19 to damage the right side of your heart, ultimately leading to death . If you pump blood to the lungs and the lungs become very sick, you have an additional problem because the lungs are unwilling to receive blood.

“This is a very difficult condition to spot unless you’re specifically looking for it. That is why the results of this study are so important. We now know that Covid-19 is a problem that is not only related to ventilation, but can also affect the heart.”

Experts from the NHS Golden Jubilee University National Hospital in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, said the findings could play a critical role in not only saving the lives of Covid-19 patients, but also caring for potentially fatal cardiovascular diseases. and lung problems in general, such as and help prepare for a potential future pandemic.

The Covid-RV study was conducted in a significantly accelerated time frame. Traditionally, such studies would take at least a year to plan, but due to the pandemic and the importance of the findings, the study was successfully completed in six months and three weeks, from September 2020 to March 2021.

dr. Ben Shelley, lead researcher of the study and consultant Anesthesia and Intensive Care at the NHS Golden Jubilee, said: “The study has shown there is no doubt that Covid-19 affects the heart and has a major impact on patient outcomes. † However, now that we know that this is really happening, and have a better understanding of how it affects people, we can plan for the future and introduce new care plans and treatments to help combat it.

“For example, ultrasounds could be used differently to focus on early warning signs and areas we now know are at risk. If we can spot these warning signs early enough, clinicians can investigate the causes of any complications and start new treatments as soon as possible, which will help may improve outcomes for the sickest patients with Covid-19.

“This kind of knowledge is invaluable not only in fighting future waves of Covid-19, but also in planning for future pandemics so that people can be treated more effectively.”

The study will be published Tuesday in the journal Anesthesia.

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