People with cardiovascular disease face more life-threatening complications and a substantially higher risk of death from the new coronavirus, according to data and reports from doctors in several countries, and even those with simple high blood pressure are being urged to take extra care against infection.
Among the complications are conditions that put these patients’ already strained hearts under additional stress. While Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, doctors increasingly report that some patients develop cardiovascular complications such as heart-rhythm disorders, blood clots and inflammation causing chest pain that mimics a heart attack.
These complications can be deadly. “We’ve certainly seen cardiac arrests,” said Matthew Tomey, director of the cardiac intensive-care unit at Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital in New York City.
“It’s very clear that there is a cardiovascular involvement in Covid-19 disease,” said Nir Uriel, director of advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
These complications also strike Covid-19 patients who were otherwise healthy, but people with heart disease have more trouble because their cardiovascular systems are already impaired, Dr. Uriel said. “It’s a double-edged sword,” he said.