How can infection with SARS-CoV-2 affect heart health?

Artwork by Iryna Savinova.

Bottom Line:

Patients with heart failure may be at a higher risk of heart injury, such as heart attack, due to infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Reference:

Chen, L. et al. The ACE2 expression in human heart indicates new potential mechanism of heart injury among patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Cardiovascular Research (2020). DOI: 10.10.1093/cvr/cvaa078

Date Published:

30 March 2020

Synopsis:

This article indicated that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may be a potential concern to heart health, as the virus can interact with a specific cell receptor called ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2), which is located in the heart among some other organs. Cell receptors are one of the ways in which signalling occurs throughout the body. In this study, it was found that the SARS-CoV 2 virus may bind effectively to the ACE2 receptor, indicating that the certain cells of the heart may be a potential target of the virus itself, and making it a susceptible organ to infection. More specifically, SARS-CoV-2 may impact the micro-circulation (i.e. circulation of blood in small blood vessels) of the heart. As a result, patients with heart failure, a condition which increases ACE2 expression, may be at higher risk of further cardiac injury such as heart attack if infected with COVID-19.

Summary by: Max Solish