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Medwatch: The impact COVID is having on hearts

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 7:27 AM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - We know COVID has impacted people’s lungs, but it has affected some hearts as well. Dr. Khurram Liaqat, a cardiologist at the Heart and Vascular Center in Lawton, says the virus has impacted patients in three different phases. He says when COVID first hit, people with heart disease weren’t going to the hospital for medical emergencies.

“So what we saw were late MI’s,” Dr. Liaqat said. “Where people had a heart attack for 3, 4 days and even for a week and they didn’t show up at a hospital. We would try to open up the blockages, but they were not doing well. So, people did not seek care in time.”

Next are people who actually got the virus.

“The virus itself was causing inflammation of the heart and lining of the blood vessels which made the made the heart weak suddenly, and when the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body, you go into a situation called cardiogenic shock,” he said.

What they’re seeing right now is inflammation of the blood lining and clot formations.

“So a lot of blood clots were noted in the lungs,” Dr. Liaqat said. “People could not breathe. The clots were also noted in the vessels supplying to the heart and people representing with MI’s.”

Dr. Liaqat said the frequency is going down, but they’re still seeing patients experiencing inflammation of the blood lining and clot formations. He said they’re also seeing patients who are no longer testing positive for the virus but are still experiencing problems.

“We’re trying to learn more about the disease,” he said. “But they’re reporting chest pain. The easeness of their breathing is still not there even with fully recovered patients.”

He said it’s extremely important to go to your doctor if you’re not feeling quite the same after getting COVID.

“Especially if people have palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling in the legs, anything funny feeling in the chest that they have not felt before, especially post COVID,” Dr. Liaqat said. “They need to seek to go to their regular doctors and hopefully cardiologists as well.”

While Dr. Liaqat pointed out some of the extremes that may happen, he wants to note it’s important to try not to get COVID.

“We should prevent the disease from happening,” he said. “And that basically starts with vaccination, six feet distance, and wearing a mask.”

As for what impacts the virus has on long-term heart health, he said they’re still learning.

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