Coronaviruses and the Cardiovascular System: Acute and Long-Term Implications

Eur Heart J. 2020 Mar 18. Online ahead of print

The present COVID-19 outbreak emphasizes the need for greater awareness of the immediate and long-term cardiovascular implications of viral infection and the significant gaps in knowledge that future research will need to address.

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The recent outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) provides a further challenge in the battle against outbreaks of novel virus infections and has been declared a public health emergency of international concern. Much has been learnt in the course of preceding epidemics, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and H1N1 influenza, and it is now recognized that their overall health burden may be under-estimated since extra-pulmonary manifestations are frequent.1 Acute and chronic cardiovascular complications of pneumonia are common and result from various mechanisms, including relative ischaemia, systemic inflammation, and pathogen-mediated damage. There is, however, only limited published data concerning cardiovascular presentations in the wake of viral epidemics. The present COVID-19 outbreak emphasizes the need for greater awareness of the immediate and long-term cardiovascular implications of viral infection and the significant gaps in knowledge that future research will need to address.