Doctors say they’re seeing long-term effects on the hearts of COVID-19 patients

Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 5:40 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Doctors say they are now figuring out that COVID-19 can have long-term effects on a patient’s heart, even if the individual has fully recovered from the virus.

“The COVID crisis has really kind of brought to the forefront these types of viral myocarditis because they’ve been around for a long time, but we have not seen them in such a high volume as we have since the COVID crisis started,” explains Dr. Antoine Keller, a cardiac surgeon at Baton Rouge General.

Myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart muscle, Keller explains.

He says patients who recovered from COVID-19 are now showing lingering symptoms, such as shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and a decrease in exercise tolerance.

“People whose livelihoods depend on being able to exercise and go out and do very strenuous things, may not be able to do those things if they get infected,” Keller says.

He also says this could be an issue for athletes who have recovered from COVID-19.

Certain studies have shown young adults having long-term effects, he explains.

Some athletes have chosen to drop out of their season because they don’t know how the long-term effects of COVID-19, could affect their health in the future.

“Well, I think athletes, it has to be a personal decision. You know, when I think of [the] situation if it would have been the same when I was playing, you know, I would have wanted to play, I think all of my teammates would have wanted to play. So obviously the athletes are going to want to play, the coaches are going to want to coach, fans are going to want to see the games. But we have to make this situation as safe as we can for these athletes,” says Dr. Chad Loup, who is also a former LSU football player.

As of now, doctors say they are encouraging people to follow the basic guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to reduce their risk of contracting the virus and to protect their health in the future.

Doctors also say if you are still having issues with or any physical activity even if you have recovered from COVID-19 you should speak with your doctor.

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