Target Health Blog

Many COVID-19 Patients Are Dying From Cardiac Arrest

April 13, 2020


Conduction system of heart
By OpenStax College - Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site., Jun 19, 2013., CC BY 3.0,

Cardiac 1) _____ is a sudden loss of blood flow resulting from the failure of the heart to pump effectively. Signs include loss of consciousness and abnormal or absent breathing. Some individuals may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or nausea before cardiac arrest. If not treated within minutes, it typically leads to death. The most common cause of cardiac arrest is coronary artery disease. Less common causes include major blood loss, lack of oxygen, very low potassium, heart failure, and intense physical exercise. A number of inherited disorders may also increase the risk including long 2) _____ syndrome. The initial heart rhythm is most often ventricular fibrillation. The diagnosis is confirmed by finding no pulse. While a cardiac arrest may be caused by heart attack or heart failure, these are not the same. Prevention of cardiac arrest includes not smoking, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. Treatment for cardiac arrest includes immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation ( 3) _____) and, if a shockable rhythm is present, defibrillation. Among those who survive, targeted temperature management may improve outcomes. An implantable cardiac defibrillator may be placed to reduce the chance of death from recurrence.

In the United States, approximately 535,000 cases of cardiac arrest occur a year. About 13 per 10,000 people (326,000 or 61%) experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting, while 209,000 (39%) occur within a 4) _____. Cardiac arrest becomes more common with age. It affects males more often than females. The percentage of people who survive with treatment is about 8%. Many who survive have significant disability. However, many American television programs have portrayed unrealistically high survival rates of 67%.

A recent study by Chinese researchers found that as many as one in five COVID-19 patients experienced cardiac damage, heart failure and, in some instances, death. Out of 416 hospitalized patients, 19% showed signs of heart damage. About half of those with heart damage succumbed to the disease while only 4.5% of those without didn't. A report by Italian physicians found similarly serious cardiac issues associated with the coronavirus outbreak. In one instance, as The New York Times reported that a 64-year-old patient in Brooklyn was rushed in to be treated for a blocked 5) _____. But as it  turns out, it wasn't a heart attack, it was the coronavirus.

It is commonly known that COVID-19 patients' lungs were affected by the 6) _____ virus. The focus has largely been on respiratory problems, with reports of a shortage of ventilators in the US making headlines for weeks now. The trend has puzzled 7) _____cardiologists, who are racing to figure out if existing prognosis and treatment methods for COVID-19 have to be adjusted. What still isn't clear however, is a matter of correlation or causation: are the ensuing heart problems simply a byproduct of the body's reaction to the virus. For example, do we know that in severe instances, pneumonia can lead to heart failure, or are the problems directly caused by the virus itself?

Researchers have several guesses as what the connection between the virus and heart inflammation could be. Excessive levels of chemicals called 8) _____ could cause inflation in both lungs and the heart, caused by an immune system going haywire. It could also have to do with exposure higher viral loads, meaning certain patients have to cope with higher total amounts of a virus inside of them. Testing patients to reveal the connection is proving to be difficult. Hospitals don't have the resources or time to use 9) _____ on COVID-19 patients, particularly since most if not all of them are put in isolation. But figuring out the connection could be key to successfully fighting the pandemic.

But what happens in China carries a lot more weight these days: In 2003, China accounted for 4% of global output. Now its share is 16%, according to the World Bank. No one knows exactly how the outbreak will play out or what its economic impact will be. Governments are still trying to better understand the new virus. It is from the coronavirus family, which also can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS.

The 10) _____ experience offers some reason for economic optimism. That outbreak, centered in southern China, initially clobbered the Chinese economy. In the April-June quarter of 2003, China's economic growth dropped to an annual rate of 9.1% from 11.1% the previous quarter. But as the health crisis subsided, growth picked back up, recovering to a 10% annual rate in the second half of the year.

Source:  Wikipedia;

ANSWERS: 1) arrest; 2) QT; 3) CPR; 4) hospital; 5) artery; 6) SARS-CoV-2; 7) cardiologists; 8) cytokines; 9) electrocardiograms; 10) SARS

Contact Target Health

Reach out today and let us know how we can help you!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form