Biggest risk factors for COVID-related heart damage: age and obesity

Published: September 24, 2020 4:44 PM EDT
Updated: September 24, 2020 7:02 PM EDT

The coronavirus doesn’t only damage your lungs, it has a big impact on your heart, too.

NCH doctors say up to 28% of its hospitalized COVID-19 patients have suffered cardiac injuries like blood clots, heart attacks, and fast and irregular heartbeats.

Those injuries are connected to worse COVID-19 outcomes like ICU admission and death.

The biggest risk factors for suffering COVID-related heart damage are age and obesity.
Doctors say people with pre-existing heart conditions should also take extra precautions.

“We know that an underlying heart condition is going to make you more susceptible to more severe complications,” Dr. David Axline, a cardiologist at NCH Heart Institute.
“You already have some more limited reserve for the heart to be insulted by something – so you just have to take that into account and protect that organ.”

If you do have pre-existing heart disease and you contract COVID-19, there is some good news. NCH says it has a 10% to 20% increased coronavirus survival rate compared to national standards. Doctors say that’s because the healthcare system learned from New York’s example as well as its use of convalescent plasma and steroids.