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COVID-19 may cause heart failure in some patients

Patients hospitalized with Covid-19 may develop heart failure even if they do not have a previous history of heart disease or cardiovascular risk factors, although the risk is low, according to a study published on Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Among 6,439 hospitalized Covid-19 patients, doctors found 37 patients (0.6%) with no history of heart failure who developed new cases during their hospitalization – including eight in their 40s, on average, who had no previous cardiovascular disease or risk factors.

It is not clear yet whether new-onset heart failure in these patients is an indirect effect of critical illness or a direct effect of the virus invading the heart, said study co-author Dr Anu Lala of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, in a statement.

“Importantly,” she added, “though symptoms of heart failure – particularly shortness of breath – can mimic symptoms associated with Covid-19, being alerted to the findings of this study may prompt clinicians to monitor for signs of congestion more consistent with heart failure than Covid-19 alone.”

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