Post-COVID heart issues reported by Cardiologists

Doctors concerned with post-COVID heart issues
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Learning how COVID-19 can affect our bodies is an ongoing process. A North Central Heart Institute Cardiologist at Avera Heart Hospital understands what it’s like to struggle with COVID. Dr. John Wagener became so sick while testing positive that he was hospitalized for a week.

While the severely ill are monitored closely for heart-related issues, there is a developing new concern for the patients who seemed to recover just fine, but develop heart symptoms later. Dr. John Wagener is helping to care for these patients.

“Twenty to forty percent of folks who have moderate to severe COVID infection have some damage to a certain degree to their heart and we don’t know yet how long-lasting that is,” said Dr. Wagener.

His colleagues are witnessing the trend of long-term COVID cardiovascular issues.

“I think all providers or other primary care specialists like pulmonologist cardiologists see quite frequently and have been since September,” said Wagener.

American Heart Association President Dr. Mitch Elkind describes how COVID affects more than breathing.

“It gets into the body through the lungs, causes lung problems. For some people, lung problems don’t even seem to be the major problem. It’s when it gets into the blood vessels that it causes trouble,” said Dr. Mitch Elkind.

While COVID may be a tipping point for a patient with an undiagnosed heart condition to seek help, there are others without previous heart issues experiencing symptoms. Some were asymptomatic.

“Palpitations or feeling your heartbeat in your chest, some people will have a fast heart rate, lot of chest pain, shortness of breath, and chronic fatigue, and we think a lot of that’s related to just the long-lasting effects that COVID is having on the body,” said Dr. Wagener.

The anomaly with COVID is that extensive testing is done on patients and often, there are no issues to be found; something frustrating to patients and their doctor alike. The belief is that nerves, also affected by covid are creating heart-related symptoms. While medical research continues, preventing these covid related issues is the best approach.

“Better to be vaccinated protected and not have to see one of us, you know, every six months every year. You know I think that would be the best choice,” said Wagener.

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