Cureus. 2020 Jun 10;12(6):e8543. doi: 10.7759/cureus.8543.
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic evolves, more complications associated with the disease come to surface. Thus far, there is limited information available on the etiology, clinical outcomes, and management options for cardiovascular complications caused by COVID-19. This review focuses on literature published in year 2020 on the virus-induced cardiovascular damage with intention to better understand pathophysiology of this process, its impact on clinical outcomes, and available therapies. Literature review shows that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) acts through angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptors and causes cardiac injury by direct damage to the cardiomyocytes, systemic inflammation, fibrosis, interferon and cytokine-mediated immune response, coronary plaque destabilization, and hypoxia. Comorbidities, especially underling heart disease, make patients more predisposed to severe cardiovascular damage. COVID-19 patients who develop myocardial injury have a higher mortality rate compared to those who do not. During the pandemic, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) should remain the standard of care for patients with ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). On the other hand, in order to limit healthcare worker exposure, patients with non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) should be managed with stabilization strategies if hemodynamically stable. Monitoring hospitalized COVID-19 patients with high sensitivity troponin can help screen for severe complications and detect them early. Use of multiple investigational drugs with uncertain cardiac safety profiles in COVID-19 patients requires continuous cardiac monitoring. Notch signaling pathway therapy along with anti-viral agents, interleukin-6 inhibitors, and convalescent serum are possible treatment options to better control the inflammatory state that drives the cardiac damage.