Post COVID-19 Cardiology
The Smidt Heart Institute is at the forefront of novel cardiac treatments and care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The Post COVID-19 Diagnostics and Therapeutics Program is an initiative of the Department of Cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute led by Siddharth Singh MD. This highly specialized program leverages our experience with COVID-19 and the heart, and our established expertise in advanced cardiac imaging and biomarker discovery, to provide state-of-the-art evaluation of COVID-19 survivors with known or suspected cardiac complications. The program includes an outpatient COVID-19 Recovery Clinic staffed by cardiologists and imaging specialists with published expertise in COVID-19 clinical trials and research. Our team has performed extensive research on this new virus, and continues to explore the long-term effects on the heart in our patients.
What do you need to know about COVID-19 and the heart?
As infections with COVID-19 grow worldwide, involvement of the cardiovascular system has been increasingly recognized, initially in severely ill patients, and later in patients with minor or no symptoms. There are multiple ways by which viral infection may affect the heart, including inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), inflammation of the lining of blood vessels (causing clots to form), heart attacks and reversible heart failure (similar to "broken heart" syndrome).
Patients with preexisting heart and vascular issues may be at an increased risk for developing complications from COVID-19. Given the extent of widespread COVID-19 infections, and common involvement of the cardiovascular system, it is important that our cardiologists characterize long-term health issues that survivors of the virus may face.
Have you had COVID-19?
Our team is available to care for high-risk populations, including those with preexisting conditions, such as patients who had heart failure, hypertension or coronary artery disease before coming down with the virus. People and athletes who have recovered from COVID-19 may wish to review their heart health with an expert before embarking on vigorous exercise and training. Symptoms that may indicate a potential problem include persistent shortness of breath (especially with exertion), chest pain, feeling lightheaded, faint or dizzy, strong or irregular heartbeats, passing out spells and an inability to move as easily or as much as before.
Consult with a Cardiologist
Our highly trained cardiologists treat patients with a verified laboratory positive result for COVID-19, whether or not they've been hospitalized with COVID-19, and continue to experience cardiac symptoms from the virus or preexisting symptoms. Thorough clinical examinations and investigations are conducted during initial consultation to understand the risks to patients and personalize treatment plans.
The program and clinical team collaborate across various specialties and aim to better characterize involvement of the cardiovascular system in COVID-19 survivors. This is done using detailed clinical assessments and advanced diagnostic and imaging techniques. The program also has a significant allied clinical and translational research component, and provides follow-up for patients over time to optimize cardiometabolic and vascular health. The COVID-19 Recovery Clinic creates individualized treatment plans for patients who experience cardiac issues from the virus or preexisting conditions.
There is concern and ongoing discussion about the long-term effects of the virus on the human body, including the heart. The COVID-19 Recovery Clinic will follow patients over time to determine any long-lasting effects on cardiovascular health. Patients will also be given an opportunity to enroll in research studies examining disease associations and any potential treatments.