The new coronavirus can invade myocytes, or the cells of the heart muscle tissue, which means that people who have recovered from COVID-19 should be monitored for heart disease after their recoveries, according to new research.
Doctors have discovered the virus in heart tissue before, but two studies from August bolster claims that the SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in people, can affect heart muscle tissue, which causes life-threatening complications for patients with the disease, according to Reuters.
Italian researchers published a study this week in medXriv about six coronavirus-related deaths among adults who were previously healthy with no history of heart disease. The new coronavirus was discovered in their heart muscles. The researchers pointed out, that patients with SARS, which is caused by another type of coronavirus, developed heart abnormalities after their recovery. The study is not certified by peer review.
“The presence of SARS-CoV-2 into cardiomyocytes was invariably detected,” study authors wrote, adding that the findings demonstrate how COVID-19 patients' heart health should be surveilled to measure any long-term effects.
The second report, published earlier this month by Brazilian doctors and experts, reported the death of an 11-year-old girl who had a pediatric inflammatory condition linked to coronavirus. The child underwent heart failure and died after one day of hospital admission.
In this case, study authors noted that cardiomyocytes were infected, which they said: “probably leads to local inflammation in response to cell injury.”
Study authors also added that, to their knowledge, their case report published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health was the first “to document the presence of viral particles in the cardiac tissue of a child affected by MIS-C. Moreover, viral particles were identified in different cell lineages of the heart."
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, has been likened to Kawasaki disease, an acute inflammatory syndrome that can cause coronary-artery aneurysms. The researchers have noted that the number of deaths linked to a Kawasaki-like disease have been on the rise in countries with high instances of COVID-19.