While the wrath of Covid-19 seems to be settling down, what follows now is the sequelae or secondary conditions directly resulting from the viral infection. Perhaps, one of the most concerning is myocarditis, which is defined as inflammation of the heart muscle, whose prevalence is rising among recovered patients of Covid-19.
The hospitals are reporting patients coming with complaints of heart-related issues. Surprisingly, many are found carrying the antibodies of the viral infection. Doctors observed that the undetected Covid infection is triggering the rise in cardiac illnesses.
An 18-year-old boy with no history of any illness was rushed to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) after he fell unconscious. His echocardiography revealed a weak and poorly functioning, enlarged heart that had started to fail. The doctors conducted antibodies test on the patient and found an unusually high level of it.
Similarly, a 28-year-old female with no previous history of a comorbid condition or any cardiac or respiratory illness was admitted to Moolchand Hospital with complaints of multiple episodes of loose stool and vomiting. The hospital did an antibody test on her as a precaution and was surprised to find her possessing high titers of it.
The patient suffered heart failure but got recovered in 12 days of stay at the hospital.
Dr Bhagwan Mantri, Consultant Pulmonologist at Moolchand who followed up the case said that undetectable Covid-19 infection is driving the disease burden, especially associated with heart and lungs.
“We saw such cases in the first wave as well but then, most of the patients had a known history of Covid infection. Now, what are we noticing is that patients are coming with inflammatory markers in their body with no past illnesses. During the investigation, Covid-19 is being found a causation behind their medical condition,” he noted.
Dr Ashwani Mehta, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, SGRH said that many of his patients suffering from Covid associated Myocarditis revealed that they never tested positive for the Covid-19.
“One of my patients told me that his family member suffered from Covid-19, but he never tested positive. However, the patient exhibited a high level of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies,” he said.
Mantri said that since the infection has seeped into the community wherein tracing every Covid-19 patient seems impossible, one should remain watchful of the symptoms he or she experience.
“Noting warnings and identifying symptoms can help in early diagnosis of the Covid induced condition,” he added.
Speaking on warning signs, Mehta said that both in the known history of Covid infection and untracked cases, some symptoms may persist which the patients should not ignore.
“Patients generally experience palpitations, fatigue, breathlessness, puffiness and swelling over the face,” he informed.
Doctors suggested that regular follow-up and screening is a must in Covid recovered patients to diagnose any post-Covid cardiac trauma.
“Since a load of asymptomatic Covid cases is high who mostly go undiagnosed, people must check for early warning signs since myocarditis is a potentially life-threatening condition,” Mehta said.