SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – COVID-19 has caused some long-lasting side effects. Sharon Regional Medical Center has seen many COVID patients come in with cardiovascular issues.
Dr. Ron Mikolich, the director of cardiac imaging at Sharon Regional Medical Center, was not expecting to be caring for COVID-19 patients. But since the pandemic began, he says COVID-19 has been causing inflammation in the lining around the heart as well as the heart muscle itself.
“If you would have asked me in February of 2020 whether I was going to be involved as a cardiologist with COVID patients, I would have said no. I had anticipated that it would be mainly pulmonary physicians and infectious disease physicians and intensivists,” Mikolich said.
Mikolich said that they are seeing more patients each day that are facing cardiovascular complications from COVID-19. After caring for patients over the last nine months, he has noticed some symptoms that could be signs of post-COVID heart disease.
“There are symptoms that are fairly common, including chest discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue, and often times a rapid or irregular heartbeat,” he said.
The symptoms don’t always mean cardiac involvement, Mikolich said, however, it is something to be aware of. Sharon Regional Medical Center has seen about 50% of their patients showing those symptoms lead to post-COVID heart disease. This is something that can be treated.
“In general, any drug that is an anti-inflammatory can be helpful in treating post-COVID myocarditis or pericarditis. There is a wide range of steroids to non-steroidal ant-inflammatories, and some drugs that we use to treat gout for many years called colchicine,” Mikolich said.
Mikolich said anyone who had COVID and is presenting some of the symptoms mentioned should contact their primary care physician. He is advising people to do it promptly.