SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - When you think of a COVID-19 infection, you typically associate it with the lungs, but this Heart Health Awareness Month doctors at SouthCoast Health say it can also impact your heart.
“Fortunately, we don’t see lingering effects in everybody, but there can be and there are some people who have longer lasting effects on their cardiac function,” said Dr. Roy Flood a cardiologist with SouthCoast Health. “And typically those patients have what we would call cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening of the heart muscle.”
Dr. Roy Flood says this isn’t happening to a majority of people, but it can have lasting effects. Those most likely to experience it are those who are considered high risk for a severe COVID case, though it has happened in otherwise healthy people. He says doctors are watching closely as we continue to learn more about how this infection impacts patients long-term.
“I think the biggest area of concern is are those people who develop a cardiomyopathy,” Flood said. “How long will it take for them to recover, what will their recovery look like and how can we best combat that?”
Another concern for Dr. Flood is how COVID can change our ability to clot blood.
“Patients that have COVID are more prone to blood clots,” explained Dr. Roy Flood. “And if a person has a lung or a cardiac injury caused by a blood clot those effects can be long lasting even after the infection has quote unquote cleared the body.”
He says as we continue to learn more it’s important that you know your risk factors and stay connected to your doctor because it could prevent serious issues. Dr. Flood also says the vaccine is key for those who have underlying medical conditions as it’s proven safe and effective.