How COVID-19 raises risk for heart attacks, strokes

Researchers from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine determined a link between COVID-19 infections and heart complications, according to a Sept. 28 news release.

While heart complications and COVID-19 have been something closely watched by experts, this study — published Sept. 28 in Nature — revealed that the COVID-19 virus attacks arterial immune cells and "sets off a dangerous immune response in plaque deposits linking the heart's arteries. The resulting inflammation makes it easier for plaque to grow, rupture, and block blood flow to the brain and other organs," according to the release. 

The study authors examined the arteries of men and women who had previously been infected with COVID-19 and died as a result and detected the virus in their arteries as an immune response.

"Our findings provide for the first time a direct mechanistic link between COVID-19 infection and the heart complications it provokes," Natalia Eberhardt, PhD, the lead study author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone Health stated in the news release. "The virus creates a highly inflammatory environment that could make it easier for plaque to grow, rupture, and block blood flow to the heart, brain, and other key organs."


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