Why do you want to have your heart tested if you have received COVID-19

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Experts say if you have had a severe case of COVID-19, you may want to have your heart examined. Rudi Suardi / Getty Images
  • We associate COVID-19 with lung symptoms, but the heart side effects are just as important to be aware of.
  • If you’ve had a severe case of COVID-19, it’s important to get a heart screening before you start exercising again, experts say.
  • For patients who have had moderate cases of COVID-19 or were asymptomatic, heart screening is not essential, experts say.

For patients who have undergone COVID-19, the desire to return to normal life can be overwhelming.

But before jumping back to your normal routine, especially your regular exercise routine, doctors urge COVID-19 survivors to check their hearts first.

“We know that patients who have had COVID-19, according to prescription medications and the severity of the disease, have experienced a lot of inflammatory and clotting sensations in the hearts and lungs that can affect blood flow to these organs, ”said Dr Thomas Gut, chair of medicine at Staten Island University Hospital.

“If you start getting active again, and your heart and lungs start wanting more results, you can run into issues for it,” Gut said.

That is, although we usually associate COVID-19 with lung symptoms, the heart side effects equally important to be aware of.

Exercise with COVID-19-related heart issues can lead to irregular heartbeats or sudden heart death.

Doctors want to make sure patients who return to exercise after recovering from COVID-19 are as safe as possible.

Nearly a quarter of people hospitalized with COVID-19 develop myocardial injury or damage to the tension of the heart.

People with COVID-19 have also developed thromboembolic disease or blood clots and arrhythmias.

“We are concerned about the heart because a lot of data has come out in people hospitalized with COVID-19 which shows the connection of heart muscle to the virus,” said Dr Sean Heffron, senior assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

“With that experience, we are concerned about the long-term effects of COVID-19 disease on heart structure and function, and post-disease exercise safety,” Heffron said.

Starting exercise too soon, or taking it too early, without being aware of your heart condition can have serious side effects. This is due to the long-term effects of COVID-19, which are still being studied.

“The body, heart and lungs work according to demand,” said Gut. “The body needs more blood flow and oxygen [while exercising], which indicates that the heart and lungs are pumping harder. ”

“In a situation where the heart or lungs are restricted or damaged, the heart or lungs can damage themselves trying to do just that to keep oxygenation and blood flow to all organs, ”He said.

Who needs to be diagnosed and what type of test is recommended must depend on each person and their specific symptoms or the severity of the diagnosis.

An inquiry from the end of October issued advice for “return to play”For competitive sports athletes, high school athletes, and recreational masters athletes, over the age of 35 and training for special competitions.

The research advised to talk to your doctor and have a heart screening. These tests, recommended for athletes with moderate to severe COVID-19, include:

  • Electrocardiograms (EKG and ECG). This records the electrical signals in your heart. It is a great way to test for arrhythmias.
  • Echocardiograms. This uses sound waves to make images of your heart, such as a sonogram. It is used to detect problems with the valves or chambers of the heart.
  • Troponin blood tests. This measures levels of troponin T or troponin I proteins in the blood. These proteins are released when the heart muscle is damaged.
  • MRI: Magnetic repositioning images create detailed images of the organs, including the heart. It tests for size and function, degree of damage, structural problems, or inflammation.

For patients who had moderate cases of COVID-19 or who were asymptomatic, heart screening is not considered essential.

“The worse the illness is in an individual, the more careful we are about getting them back into use,” said Dr. Sahadeo Ramnauth, a cartographer with the NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Association Queens.

“Those who were hospitalized or injured would indicate a more serious illness. The worse the illness, the more cautious we are, ”said Ramnauth.

The screening required is up to the individual. It can be as simple as a basic EKG, or doctors may require an MRI for issues that cause more concern.

“Each case would be unique,” ​​Ramnauth said. “If you had mild symptoms and are not feeling any restriction in your basic activity level, take a slow look and see how you are feeling.”

Wherever you have fallen on the COVID-19 infection spectrum, it is important to get back into your exercise routine.

“Don’t try to do too much,” Ramnauth said. “If you were running 10 miles a day, you could probably try that and increase slowly over the next two to three days. ”

Of course, pay attention to warning signs and listen to your body.

“Chest pain is going to be a big red stop sign,” Gut said. “If you are short of breath, earlier than you can remember, that is a warning sign.”

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to stop exercising and talk to your doctor.