The Impact of COVID-19 on the Cardiovascular System

Roque Aras Júnior André Durães Leonardo Roever Cristiano Macedo Marcela Gordilho Aras Luca Nascimento Alex Cleber Improta-Caria Ricardo Augusto Leoni De Sousa Mansueto Gomes-Neto About the authors

SUMMARY

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19), has affected many people in Brazil and worldwide. This disease predominantly affects the organs of the respiratory system, but it also damages the brain, liver, kidneys and especially the heart. In the heart, scientific evidence shows that this virus can damage the coronary arteries, generating microvascular dysfunction, favoring acute myocardial infarction. Furthermore, with the increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, it can lead to myocarditis and cardiac fibrosis, inducing changes in the electrical conduction system of the heart, generating cardiac arrhythmias. All these factors mentioned are protagonists in promoting the increase in the mortality outcome. This outcome may be even higher if the individuals are elderly, or if they have other diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus or hypertension, because they may already have cardiomyopathy. In this context, this review focused on the impact that COVID-19 can have on the heart and cardiovascular system and the association of this impact with aging, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiac arrhythmias and arterial hypertension

KEYWORDS:
Coronavirus; Infection; Betacoronavirus; Cardiovascular System

INTRODUCTION

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that was first identified at the end of 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China. The causative agent is severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2), a single-stranded RNA virus11. Lai CC, Shih TP, Ko WC, Tang HJ, Hsueh PR. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19): the epidemic and the challenges. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020;55(3):105924. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105924
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,22. Zhu N, Zhang D, Wang W, Li X, Yang B, Song J, et al. A novel coronavirus from patients with pneumonia in China, 2019. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(8):727-33. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2001017
https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2001017...
with different replication kinetics, depending on the type of host cell33. Chu H, Chan JF, Yuen TT, Shuai H, Yuan S, Wang Y, et al. Comparative tropism, replication kinetics, and cell damage profiling of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV with implications for clinical manifestations, transmissibility, and laboratory studies of COVID-19: an observational study. Lancet Microbe. 2020;1(1):e14-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-5247(20)30004-5
https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-5247(20)30...
. According to the data from the World Health Organization (WHO)44. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020. [cited on Oct 13, 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases...
, until May 14, 2021, the number of confirmed positive cases for COVID-19 were 160,813,869 and confirmed deaths were 3,339,002 due to COVID-19.

Clinically, the main symptoms are fever, cough, myalgia or fatigue, sputum, and dyspnea. In a meta-analysis of 10 studies involving 1,994 patients, a higher prevalence among men (60%) and a mortality rate of 7% were observed, with 43% of deaths affecting the patients aged over 60 years, or those with cancer, comorbidities, or other infections55. Li LQ, Huang T, Wang YQ, Wang ZP, Liang Y, Huang TB, et al. COVID-19 patients’ clinical characteristics, discharge rate, and fatality rate of meta-analysis. J Med Virol. 2020;92(6):577-83. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.25757
https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.25757...
.

Different organ systems, such as heart, lung, liver, brain, and kidneys, are severely affected by the COVID-19 virus. This virus binds to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, causing damage to these organs, and specifically in the coronary arteries, pericytes have high ACE2 expression. These cells are damaged inducing endothelial and microvascular dysfunction66. Chen L, Li X, Chen M, Feng Y, Xiong C. The ACE2 expression in human heart indicates new potential mechanism of heart injury among patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Cardiovasc Res. 2020;116(6):1097-100. https://doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvaa078
https://doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvaa078...
. Among cardiovascular complications, infection can lead to myocardial damage with elevated troponin and electrocardiographic abnormalities, as well as outcomes such as cardiogenic shock, arrhythmias, myocarditis, pericarditis, and death77. Ibanez B, James S, Agewall S, Antunes MJ, Bucciarelli-Ducci C, Bueno H, et al; ESC Scientific Document Group. 2017 ESC Guidelines for the management of acute myocardial infarction in patients presenting with ST-segment elevation: The Task Force for the management of acute myocardial infarction in patients presenting with ST-segment elevation of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Eur Heart J. 2018;39(2):119-77. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx393
https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx393...
(Figure 1).

Figure 1
Impact of SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19 on cardiac structure and function.

In view of the possible cardiovascular complications evidenced in COVID-19 patients, this study performed a literature review with the aim to investigate the COVID-19 complications related to the myocardium. We also tried to associate the ratio of age and mortality, the data over acute myocardial infarction (AMI), diabetes mellitus, cardiac arrhythmias, and hypertension related to COVID-19.

STUDY VARIABLES

For this review, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) was defined as myocardial injury, with necrosis, through an increase in cardiac troponin values, in a clinical context consistent with cardiac ischemia77. Ibanez B, James S, Agewall S, Antunes MJ, Bucciarelli-Ducci C, Bueno H, et al; ESC Scientific Document Group. 2017 ESC Guidelines for the management of acute myocardial infarction in patients presenting with ST-segment elevation: The Task Force for the management of acute myocardial infarction in patients presenting with ST-segment elevation of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Eur Heart J. 2018;39(2):119-77. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx393
https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx393...
. As defined by the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by persistent hyperglycemia, resulting from deficiency in the production of insulin or in its action88. Caria ACI, Nonaka CKV, Pereira CS, Soares MBP, Macambira SG, Souza BSF. Exercise training-induced changes in microRNAs: beneficial regulatory effects in hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(11):3608. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113608
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113608...
, or in both mechanisms99. American Diabetes Association. 2. Classification and diagnosis of diabetes: standards of medical care in diabetes – 2019. Diabetes Care. 2019;42(Suppl.1):S13-28. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc19-S002
https://doi.org/10.2337/dc19-S002...
. Chronic and acute heart failure was defined as a complex clinical syndrome, which occurs when the heart is unable to meet the tissue demand for blood supply due to the incompetence of its pump activity, or when it does so only under high filling pressures1010. Yancy CW, Jessup M, Bozkurt B, Butler J, Casey DE Jr, Drazner MH, et al; American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. 2013 ACCF/AHA guideline for the management of heart failure: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;62(16):e147-239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.05.019
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.05.0...
. From definition of JNC 8 guidelines for hypertension, systolic blood pressure levels >130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure levels >80 mmHg was considered1111. Whelton PK, Carey RM, Aronow WS, Casey DE Jr, Collins KJ, Himmelfarb CD, et al. 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. 2018;71(6):e13-115. https://doi.org/10.1161/HYP.0000000000000065
https://doi.org/10.1161/HYP.000000000000...
.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AGE AND MORTALITY

Lian et al.1212. Lian J, Jin X, Hao S, Cai H, Zhang S, Zheng L, et al. Analysis of epidemiological and clinical features in older patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outside Wuhan. Clin Infect Dis. 2020;71(15):740-7. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa242
https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa242...
divided their study population into over and above 60 years old and less than 60 years old. It was demonstrated that there was a higher discharge rate for patients in the younger group compared with those in the older group (44.6 vs. 22.8%, p<0.001), with no deaths recorded. Age above 60 years was associated with the symptoms of severity and intensive care unit (ICU) admission (9.56 vs. 1.38%, p<0.001). Deng et al.1313. Deng Y, Liu W, Liu K, Fang YY, Shang J, Zhou L, et al. Clinical characteristics of fatal and recovered cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective study. Chin Med J (Engl). 2020;133(11):1261-7. https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.0000000000000824
https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.000000000000...
pointed out that the mean age of the group of deaths was higher than that of the group of survivors (69 [range, 62–74] years vs. 40 [33–57] years, Z=9,738, p<0.001), which corroborates with the findings of He et al.1414. He XW, Lai JS, Cheng J, Wang MW, Liu YJ, Xiao ZC, et al. Impact of complicated myocardial injury on the clinical outcome of severe or critically ill COVID-19 patients. Zhonghua Xin Xue Guan Bing Za Zhi. 2020;48(6):456-60. https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-20200228-00137
https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-2...
Also, Wang et al.1515. Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, Zhu F, Liu X, Zhang J, et al. Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020;323(11):1061-9. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585
https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585...
compared patients in relation to the need for admission to the ICU and showed that this variable was associated with a higher mean age (66 years [IQR, 57–78] vs. 51 years [IQR, 37–62]; p<0.001), as well as other associated comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

AMI, TROPONIN, AND BNP

Huang et al.1616. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Zhao J, Hu Y, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020;395(10223):497-506. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30...
found a significant relationship between COVID-19 and the elevation of ultrasensitive troponin >28 pg/mL (99th percentile) in 12% of patients, and this was even higher for those admitted to ICU (31%). Wang et al.1515. Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, Zhu F, Liu X, Zhang J, et al. Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020;323(11):1061-9. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585
https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585...
pointed out that 7.2% of the patients evolved with AMI, of which 80% required admission to the ICU, totaling 22% of the population. A higher mean troponin value was found for patients admitted to ICU compared with those without ICU admissions (11.0 [5.6–26.4] vs. 5.1 [2.1–9.8]). Shi et al.1717. Shi S, Qin M, Shen B, Cai Y, Liu T, Yang F, et al. Association of cardiac injury with mortality in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(7):802-10. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.0950
https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020....
described the clinical characteristics of 82 patients (19.7%) who developed AMI. These patients were older with an average age of 74 years [34–95] vs. 60 years [21–90] (p<0.001), and more hypertensive 49 [59.8] vs. 78 [23.4%] (p<0.001). The mean value for ultrasensitive troponin in these patients was 0.19 (0.08–1.12). Deng et al.1313. Deng Y, Liu W, Liu K, Fang YY, Shang J, Zhou L, et al. Clinical characteristics of fatal and recovered cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective study. Chin Med J (Engl). 2020;133(11):1261-7. https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.0000000000000824
https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.000000000000...
showed that AMI was a more frequent complication among nonsurvivors than survivors (59.6 vs. 0.8%, c2=93,222, p<0.001). Chen et al.1818. Chen T, Wu D, Chen H, Yan W, Yang D, Chen G, et al. Clinical characteristics of 113 deceased patients with coronavirus disease 2019: retrospective study. BMJ. 2020;368:m1091. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1091
https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1091...
compared the patients who underwent ultrasensitive troponin testing (only 203) and reported the relationship between increased troponin and a higher number of deaths (68/94 [72%] vs. 15/109 [14%]), in addition to the higher values of this marker (concentration) among patients who died (40.8 pg/mL) in relation to those who recovered (3.3 pg/mL). In this line, he also described the serum brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels and their relationship with mortality and cardiovascular diseases, finding more patients with high BNP among the group who died (68/80 [85] vs. 17/93 [18%]), and also higher BNP values (800.0 pg/mL vs. 72.0 pg/mL).

He et al.1414. He XW, Lai JS, Cheng J, Wang MW, Liu YJ, Xiao ZC, et al. Impact of complicated myocardial injury on the clinical outcome of severe or critically ill COVID-19 patients. Zhonghua Xin Xue Guan Bing Za Zhi. 2020;48(6):456-60. https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-20200228-00137
https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-2...
found that 44.4% of the patients had myocardial injury and separated their population from this condition. Patients with myocardial injury had significantly higher BNP (p<0.01) and higher mortality rate (75 vs. 26.7%, p=0.001). Guo et al.1919. Guo T, Fan Y, Chen M, Wu X, Zhang L, He T, et al. Cardiovascular implications of fatal outcomes of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(7):811-8. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.1017
https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020....
reported that there was a statistical significance in the elevation of troponin T level in patients with diabetes mellitus when compared with patients with normal troponin T level (30.8 vs. 8.9%, p<0.001) hospitalized with COVID-19 disease. Zhou et al.2020. Zhou F, Yu T, Du R, Fan G, Liu Y, Liu Z, et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1054-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30566-3
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30...
found elevated serum troponin in 17% of the study cohort, and that the proportion of patients with high troponin was higher in nonsurvivors vs. survivors (46 vs. 1%). AMI was observed in 59% of patients who died, but in only 1% of survivors. Zhou et al.2121. Zhou B, She J, Wang Y, Ma X. The clinical characteristics of myocardial injury in severe and very severe patients with 2019 novel coronavirus disease. J Infect. 2020;81(1):147-78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2020.03.021
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2020.03.0...
reported an association between elevated serum troponin levels and disease severity. In the very severe group (respiratory failure and the need for mechanical ventilation, shock, or other organ dysfunction), 100% had elevated troponin, while in the severe group (respiratory rate >30; O2 saturation <93%; PaO2/FiO2 <300 mmHg), this was 3.84%. Chen et al.2222. Chen C, Chen C, Yan JT, Zhou N, Zhao JP, Wang DW. Analysis of myocardial injury in patients with COVID-19 and association between concomitant cardiovascular diseases and severity of COVID-19. Zhonghua Xin Xue Guan Bing Za Zhi. 2020;48(7):567-71. https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-20200225-00123
https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-2...
summarized the patients as critical and noncritical and observed that 62.5% of the critical patients had high serum troponin and 79.2% had elevated BNP.

Patients with respiratory symptoms resulting from viral infections often have pulmonary tomographic changes such as ground-glass interstitial infiltrates, a finding that is similar to pulmonary congestion in congestive heart failure. This may present diagnostic difficulties in these affected patients1515. Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, Zhu F, Liu X, Zhang J, et al. Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020;323(11):1061-9. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585
https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585...
,2323. Chen R, Liang W, Jiang M, Guan W, Zhan C, Wang T, et al. Risk factors of fatal outcome in hospitalized subjects with coronavirus disease 2019 from a nationwide analysis in China. Chest. 2020;158(1):97-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2020.04.010
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2020.04....
,2424. Li B, Yang J, Zhao F, Zhi L, Wang X, Liu L, et al. Prevalence and impact of cardiovascular metabolic diseases on COVID-19 in China. Clin Res Cardiol. 2020;109(5):531-8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00392-020-01626-9
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00392-020-01626...
. We observed that the elevation of cardiac enzymes, such as troponin, is associated with the clinical status and electrocardiographic abnormalities2525. Bangalore S, Sharma A, Slotwiner A, Yatskar L, Harari R, Shah B, et al. ST-segment elevation in patients with Covid-19 – a case series. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(25):2478-80. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMc2009020
https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMc2009020...
,2626. Cipriani A, Zorzi A, Ceccato D, Capone F, Parolin M, Donato F, et al. Arrhythmic profile and 24-hour QT interval variability in COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Int J Cardiol. 2020;316:280-4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2020.05.036
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2020.05...
,2727. Angeli F, Spanevello A, De Ponti R, Visca D, Marazzato J, Palmiotto G, et al. Electrocardiographic features of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Eur J Intern Med. 2020;78:101-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2020.06.015
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2020.06.0...
,2828. He J, Wu B, Chen Y, Tang J, Liu Q, Zhou S, et al. Characteristic electrocardiographic manifestations in patients with COVID-19. Can J Cardiol. 2020;36(6):966.e1-966.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2020.03.028
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2020.03.0...
.

DIABETES MELLITUS

The prevalence of diabetes ranged from 7.21212. Lian J, Jin X, Hao S, Cai H, Zhang S, Zheng L, et al. Analysis of epidemiological and clinical features in older patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outside Wuhan. Clin Infect Dis. 2020;71(15):740-7. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa242
https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa242...
to 24.1%1414. He XW, Lai JS, Cheng J, Wang MW, Liu YJ, Xiao ZC, et al. Impact of complicated myocardial injury on the clinical outcome of severe or critically ill COVID-19 patients. Zhonghua Xin Xue Guan Bing Za Zhi. 2020;48(6):456-60. https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-20200228-00137
https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-2...
with an overall rate of 12.5%. Lian et al.1212. Lian J, Jin X, Hao S, Cai H, Zhang S, Zheng L, et al. Analysis of epidemiological and clinical features in older patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outside Wuhan. Clin Infect Dis. 2020;71(15):740-7. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa242
https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa242...
demonstrated that a significant difference in prevalence between older and younger groups (5 vs. 17.65%). Deng et al.1313. Deng Y, Liu W, Liu K, Fang YY, Shang J, Zhou L, et al. Clinical characteristics of fatal and recovered cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective study. Chin Med J (Engl). 2020;133(11):1261-7. https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.0000000000000824
https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.000000000000...
found that the mortality rate was similar between older and younger groups (15.6 vs. 7.8%, p=0.066). A proinflammatory state is usually noted in all diabetic patients who did not present COVID-19 infection symptoms.

The SARS-COV-19 pandemic in 2020–2021 has placed severe burdens on different health systems worldwide. In addition to high viral infectivity, this virus generates a systemic inflammatory process1616. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Zhao J, Hu Y, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020;395(10223):497-506. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30...
, due to the high replication kinetics and damage to host cells, increasing the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-1-beta (IL-1β), interferon-gamma (IFNγ), and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), inducing the state of hyperinflammation or cytokine storm2929. Maisch B. SARS-CoV-2 as potential cause of cardiac inflammation and heart failure. Is it the virus, hyperinflammation, or MODS? Herz. 2020;45(4):321-2. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00059-020-04925-z
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,3030. Hu B, Huang S, Yin L. The cytokine storm and COVID‐19. J Med Virol. 2020;93(1):250-6. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.26232.
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,3131. Tang Y, Liu J, Zhang D, Xu Z, Ji J, Wen C. Cytokine storm in COVID-19: the current evidence and treatment strategies. Front Immunol. 2020;11:1708. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01708
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,3232. Mahmudpour M, Roozbeh J, Keshavarz M, Farrokhi S, Nabipour I. COVID-19 cytokine storm: the anger of inflammation. Cytokine. 2020;133:155151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cyto.2020.155151
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,3333. Mehta P, McAuley DF, Brown M, Sanchez E, Tattersall RS, Manson JJ, et al. COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression. Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1033-4. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30628-0
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,3434. Wang J, Jiang M, Chen X, Montaner LJ. Cytokine storm and leukocyte changes in mild versus severe SARS-CoV-2 infection: review of 3939 COVID-19 patients in China and emerging pathogenesis and therapy concepts. J Leukoc Biol. 2020;108(1):17-41. https://doi.org/10.1002/JLB.3COVR0520-272R
https://doi.org/10.1002/JLB.3COVR0520-27...
, which can promote complications from cardiogenic shock leading to mortality, and acute respiratory failure with extensive pneumonic conditions and impairment of the heart by infections, ventricular dilation, and cardiac arrhythmias1919. Guo T, Fan Y, Chen M, Wu X, Zhang L, He T, et al. Cardiovascular implications of fatal outcomes of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(7):811-8. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.1017
https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020....
,2222. Chen C, Chen C, Yan JT, Zhou N, Zhao JP, Wang DW. Analysis of myocardial injury in patients with COVID-19 and association between concomitant cardiovascular diseases and severity of COVID-19. Zhonghua Xin Xue Guan Bing Za Zhi. 2020;48(7):567-71. https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-20200225-00123
https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-2...
,2626. Cipriani A, Zorzi A, Ceccato D, Capone F, Parolin M, Donato F, et al. Arrhythmic profile and 24-hour QT interval variability in COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Int J Cardiol. 2020;316:280-4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2020.05.036
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2020.05...
,3535. Argulian E, Sud K, Vogel B, Bohra C, Garg VP, Talebi S, et al. Right ventricular dilation in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 infection. JACC Cardiovascular Imaging. 2020;13(11):2459-61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2020.05.010
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,3636. Szekely Y, Lichter Y, Taieb P, Banai A, Hochstadt A, Merdler I, et al. Spectrum of cardiac manifestations in COVID-19: a systematic echocardiographic study. Circulation. 2020;142(4):342-53. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.047971
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.

CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIAS

Cardiac arrhythmias were not reported frequently in the studies observed, having been reported only in two studies. Wang et al.1515. Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, Zhu F, Liu X, Zhang J, et al. Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020;323(11):1061-9. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585
https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585...
reported that 23% of the observed patients had arrhythmias, of which 69.5% required intensive care, corresponding to 44.4% of the total ICU stay (p<0.001). Guo et al.1919. Guo T, Fan Y, Chen M, Wu X, Zhang L, He T, et al. Cardiovascular implications of fatal outcomes of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(7):811-8. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.1017
https://doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020....
observed that malignant arrhythmias (ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation) were more frequent in patients with previous cardiovascular disease and elevated troponin T (9 [17.3] vs. 2 [1.5%], p<0.001).

HYPERTENSION

Liu et al.3737. Liu K, Fang YY, Deng Y, Liu W, Wang MF, Ma JP, et al. Clinical characteristics of novel coronavirus cases in tertiary hospitals in Hubei Province. Chin Med J (Engl). 2020;133(9):1025-31. https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.0000000000000744
https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.000000000000...
described the prevalence of comorbidities of 20%, but only 9.5% of patients were hypertensive with an average age of 57 years [20–83]; however, the overall mortality rate was elevated at 11.7%. Lian et al.1212. Lian J, Jin X, Hao S, Cai H, Zhang S, Zheng L, et al. Analysis of epidemiological and clinical features in older patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outside Wuhan. Clin Infect Dis. 2020;71(15):740-7. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa242
https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa242...
demonstrated that older adults had more comorbidities compared with young people (55.15 vs. 21.93%, p<0.001), e.g., hypertension (38.97 vs. 11.20%, p< 0.001). Deng et al.1313. Deng Y, Liu W, Liu K, Fang YY, Shang J, Zhou L, et al. Clinical characteristics of fatal and recovered cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective study. Chin Med J (Engl). 2020;133(11):1261-7. https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.0000000000000824
https://doi.org/10.1097/CM9.000000000000...
found that a higher number of deaths were associated with previous comorbidities (72.5 vs. 41.5%, c2=22,105, p<0.001), e.g., hypertension (36.7 vs. 15.5%, c2=14,184, p<0.001). On the other hand, despite finding a high prevalence of hypertension in the population studied (44.4%), He et al.1414. He XW, Lai JS, Cheng J, Wang MW, Liu YJ, Xiao ZC, et al. Impact of complicated myocardial injury on the clinical outcome of severe or critically ill COVID-19 patients. Zhonghua Xin Xue Guan Bing Za Zhi. 2020;48(6):456-60. https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-20200228-00137
https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-2...
did not observe a statistical significance between survivors with hypertension and nonsurvivors (46.2 vs. 42.9%). As an unfavorable clinical outcome, the variable “ICU stay,” Huang et al.1616. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Zhao J, Hu Y, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020;395(10223):497-506. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30...
found no association between hypertension vs. ICU stay (15 vs. 14%). However, hypertension was documented in 15% of the sample with an average age of 49 years. Thus, arterial hypertension is an important and very common risk factor, affecting 30% of the adult population1010. Yancy CW, Jessup M, Bozkurt B, Butler J, Casey DE Jr, Drazner MH, et al; American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. 2013 ACCF/AHA guideline for the management of heart failure: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;62(16):e147-239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.05.019
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.05.0...
. Hypertension was a common comorbidity with a prevalence between 17 and 40%, and was a significant risk factor of mortality. Together with age, other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes mellitus (16%) and arterial hypertension contribute to greater disease severity, ICU admission, and mortality1515. Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, Zhu F, Liu X, Zhang J, et al. Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020;323(11):1061-9. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585
https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.1585...
,2323. Chen R, Liang W, Jiang M, Guan W, Zhan C, Wang T, et al. Risk factors of fatal outcome in hospitalized subjects with coronavirus disease 2019 from a nationwide analysis in China. Chest. 2020;158(1):97-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2020.04.010
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2020.04....
,3838. Yang X, Yu Y, Xu J, Shu H, Xia J, Liu H, et al. Clinical course and outcomes of critically ill patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a single-centered, retrospective, observational study. Lancet Respir Med. 2020;8(5):475-81. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30079-5
https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30...
,3939. Dixon DL, Van Tassell BW, Vecchié A, Bonaventura A, Talasaz AH, Kakavand H, et al. Cardiovascular considerations in treating patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2020;75(5):359-67. https://doi.org/10.1097/FJC.0000000000000836
https://doi.org/10.1097/FJC.000000000000...
,4040. Kociol RD, Cooper LT, Fang JC, Moslehi JJ, Pang PS, Sabe MA, et al. Recognition and initial management of fulminant myocarditis: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2020;141(6):e69-92. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000745
https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.000000000000...
.

CONCLUSIONS

There is a high prevalence of cardiovascular involvement in patients with COVID-19 with conditions such as myocardial damage (elevated troponin or BNP), AMI, and myocarditis. This subset of patients was at a significantly higher risk of mortality. Cardiac arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation and complex ventricular arrhythmias, were related to the use of vasopressors, such as dopamine. COVID-19 often affects various organ systems including the liver, lungs, kidneys, brain, and heart. The mortality due to COVID-19 infection is higher for the elderly people (>60 years) and in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities, elevated troponin, and cardiac arrhythmias.

  • Funding: none.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    09 July 2021
  • Date of issue
    2021

History

  • Received
    03 Dec 2020
  • Accepted
    13 Dec 2020
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