Doctoral research by cardiologist Maria Luisa Lucian (UZ Brussel) shows that in the long term, comprehensive screening of COVID patients in hospital leads to a better assessment of cardiovascular disease risk. A third of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 develop a heart attack after one year
During the first corona wave, Doctor Lucian followed 310 patients since the onset of the acute infection, with additional examinations six and twelve months after they were discharged from UZ Brussel. It also evaluated the presence of cardiac troponin and calcium in coronary arteries in COVID patients to see to what extent they could serve in predicting heart disease and mortality.
The effect has now been clearly demonstrated. After one year, it found abnormal levels of cardiac troponin, a protein primarily found in heart muscle, in a third of patients. Changes in the development of this protein can indicate various severe complications such as myocarditis, heart attack, or arrhythmia. A chest CT scan and a comprehensive ultrasound of the heart revealed the following findings:
We found subtle changes in the heart muscle that could be linked to persistent symptoms, even in patients without a history of lung or heart disease. Another in-depth analysis, using a new technology, myocardial action, showed that heart pump function was slightly altered in these patients,” Luchian says.
“Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.”