Patients at Ohio hospitals with no diagnosis of COVID suffered from ‘broken heart syndrome,’ and there has been a significant increase in stress cardiomyopathy. It suggests that the social, physical, psychological, and economic stressors due to the COVID pandemic are showing physical effects.
Broken heart syndrome is a condition that doctors consider stress cardiomyopathy, that has symptoms of chest pain and breathing difficulties, and is similar to a heart attack. The stress hormones experience a surge, and the heart muscles respond with temporary weakness.
A usual heart attack differs from the broken heart syndrome because the trigger for the latter one is a stressful event instead of bloodstream blockage. Usually, the patients recover in a few days to weeks, but it might be fatal in some cases.
During the initial few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak, the cases of stress cardiomyopathy increased in the Cleveland Clinical hospitals. The study found that almost 8% of patients in the emergency department with complaints of chest pain were diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy. It is a four to fivefold increase from 1.5% to 1.8% before the emergence of the pandemic.
On the other hand, the professionals have observed that although COVID-19 affects heart conditions with stress cardiomyopathy, the patients do not have coronavirus infection. The findings of 1914 negative COVID-19 patients were published in JAMA Network Open, the medical journal of the United States. An author of study and cardiologist, Dr. Ankar Kalra said,
“That suggests this is not the reflection of the virus, but the stress of the pandemic.”
Study findings concluded that the rise in heart problems is possibly associated with the economic, psychological, and emotional stress that the pandemic induced. Lack of social interaction, strict rules of imposed quarantine, physical distancing, and the economic downfall has adverse consequences on the health of people. Dr. Kalra commented,
“The pandemic has created a parallel environment which is not healthy, emotional distancing is not healthy. The economic impact is not healthy. We’ve seen that as an increase in non-coronavirus deaths, and our study says that stress cardiomyopathy has gone up because of the stress that the pandemic has created.”
Health authorities have issued a warning to the US and the world about the current and post after-effects of coronavirus on physical, emotional, and mental health, with a focus on the isolation practice in social distancing. The director-general, Tedros Adhanom, of the World Health Organization previously said,
“The impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health is already extremely concerning.”
According to health experts, the symptoms do not necessarily arise immediately after a stressful trigger. It is critical to seek medical advice and act on the symptoms of breath loss and chest pain.