Doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here on Monday said COVID-19 led to inflammation of cardiac muscles in an 18-year-old youth, a rare and potentially life-threatening complication. Family members of Abdullah, a resident of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, rushed him to the hospital when he fell unconscious.
Tests revealed he had a weak, poorly functioning and enlarged heart. "His heart had started to fail with reduced pumping leading to build up of fluids in the lungs which kept him out of breath," the hospital said in a statement issued on Monday.
Abdullah was diagnosed with myocarditis, which many times is the result of a viral infection. He recalled an episode of fever, giving a clue that it may be post-Covid infection cardiac complication, the hospital said.
"We conducted an antibody test for COVID-19 on him. The antibody levels were unusually high confirming the suspicion of post-Covid cardiac involvement," the statement read. Abdullah was treated with antiarrhythmic agents along with heart failure drugs and was discharged after a few days of treatment. He is recovering at home.
"Many times, patients suffer from what doctors describe as unexplained tachycardia (fast heartbeat) and postural hypotension (fall in blood pressure), but occurrence of myocarditis and heart failure post-Covid is rare. It is a life-threatening complication needing urgent attention," Ashwani Mehta, senior consultant, Department of Cardiology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said. The inflammation of cardiac tissues can lead to congestive heart failure, a term used to describe the failing heart pump, symptoms of which are breathlessness, swollen face and feet.
It can also cause abnormalities of cardiac rhythm which, if not treated appropriately in time, can even lead to cardiac arrest, Mehta added.