Doctors Can't Save You If You Have This COVID Complication, Study Says

Kali Coleman
·3 mins read

One of the most mysterious things about the novel coronavirus is the wide range of symptoms and complications it can cause. Some of these issues, however, are more worrisome than others—especially when it comes to matters of the heart. In fact, a new study has found that if you have a heart attack while battling the coronavirus, it's likely that doctors won't be able to save you. Read on for more on that, and for the early signs you should be aware of, here are These Are the Most Common COVID Symptoms You Could Have.

The new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Sept. 28, observed 1,309 patients who were admitted to a Michigan hospital with the coronavirus. Out of those patients, 60 ended up suffering heart attacks and 54 of those met the researchers' study criteria. In the end, none of these 54 patients survived COVID, even though 29 were temporarily resuscitated through CPR.

In comparison, before the COVID pandemic, researchers noted that 25 percent of hospital patients who suffer cardiac arrest tend to survive. But according to their research, at least 90 percent of COVID patients who had a heart attack died.

Related video: New research says COVID can have lasting effects on heart, lungs

According to the new study, at the time of their cardiac arrests, 79 percent of the patients were receiving mechanical ventilation, 33 percent were in the process of kidney replacement therapy, and nearly 47 percent were being given vasopressor support.

"These outcomes warrant further investigation into the risks and benefits of performing prolonged CPR in this subset of patients, especially because the resuscitation process generates aerosols that may place health care personnel at a higher risk of contracting the virus," the study authors wrote.

Female doctor with a patient who is complaining of chest pain during coronavirus epidemic.
Female doctor with a patient who is complaining of chest pain during coronavirus epidemic.

However, not all experts agree with the researchers' conclusion regarding CPR and coronavirus patients. In fact, J. Randall Curtis, a professor of pulmonology with the University of Washington in Seattle, who was not involved in the study, told HealthDay News that while CPR does increase the amount of virus in the air, the "risk is relatively low for hospital workers." He says most COVID patients who suffer heart attacks have cases so severe they are already in isolation within the ICU and personal protective equipment (PPE) should provide enough protection to workers.

"I don't think we can say cardiac arrest is always fatal if you have COVID," Curtis said. "I think we can say in this setting of cardiac arrest and COVID, the chances of cardiac resuscitation working are very, very low."

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According to Curtis, most coronavirus patients who end up having a heart attack do so because their "lung disease has gotten so severe that they aren't getting enough oxygen and their body is shutting down." So, even if they are resuscitated, their heart will have to continue to fight against the lack of oxygen in their body from their damaged lungs—and that drastically reduces their chances of survival. And for more on the damages COVID can cause, Here's How Even Mild COVID Can Wreak Havoc on Your Heart, Doctor Says.