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Total eclipse of the heart

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Total eclipse of the heart
Doctors say around 1-2% of covid-recovered patients are coming back to them with inflammation of heart; some as young as six yrs of age

Doctors were concerned when a six-year-old boy, who had recovered from covid-19 recently, come back to them with heart complications. On Monday, the boy underwent angioplasty.

The boy’s case sounds a note of caution for doctors. Cardiologists say that after covid, the patients’ health needs to be monitored and that includes the condition of the heart. The percentage of people having cardiac issues is not high, but is reported nevertheless.

The boy had come back to the doctors with discomfort in breathing and a high fever and when doctors conducted a few tests and ECG, they decided to go for an angioplasty.

Dr Ranjan Shetty, head of the department and consultant-interventional cardiology at Manipal hospital, who handled this case says, “Myocarditis is an inflammation in the cardiac muscles. This is not a heart attack, but an inflammation that happens during the course of covid-19. Around 3-4 per cent of the people admitted for covid-19 can show changes in their ECG.”

In some patients, myocarditis remains even 2-6 weeks after their discharge, Dr Shetty said. “They complain of chest pain, palpitation and variations in their heart beat. We advise these patients to take care and not exert themselves too much. There are studies that indicate that patients with milder covid infections too have slight changes in their heart functions,” he added.

We advise patients to not exert themselves. Studies indicate patients with milder covid infections too have slight changes in their heart functions

–Dr Ranjan Shetty

He said Holter Monitoring, a home-based system, can help monitor the patients.

Dr Sanjay Bhat, Consultant – Interventional Cardiology, Aster CMI Hospital, said, there is a rise in vascular diseases among youngsters. “This is due to increased incidences of Kawasaki-like diseases. The Kawasaki disease causes inflammation of the arteries amongst the youngsters. Covid-19 infection is a multi-system disease which is largely dependent on the immune response of a person. This is one of the key reasons why it is affecting everyone, irrespective of their age,” Dr Bhat said.

Dr Srinivas Prasad BV Consultant- Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital said the heart problems may be on the rise because of increased plaque instability caused by covid. “Covid might just be unmasking their underlying coronary disease,” he said.

According to Dr Mukul, Cardiologist, Prakriya Hospitals, early diagnoses and treatment is the best way to prevent this.

“The best strategy is still to prevent covid-19 itself by social distancing, hygiene, wearing masks and regular medication for heart or respiratory conditions if you are already on them,” he said.

What is Holter monitoring


* It uses a device, web cardio, which is a wireless disposable Multiday ECG monitoring system
* A monitoring device is a disposable patch which is put on the chest and the system is synchronised with an app on the mobile which monitors the ECG
* After 24 hours, the ECG report gets uploaded to the email of the doctor or the hospital for consultation
* After consultation, this ECG report will be available for the patients
* This is safe, disposable and done in the safety of the home

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