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12% of patients admitted for covid-19 who, in turn, suffer heart damage, need to be hospitalized again or die in the first year after overcoming the disease, something that only occurs in 1% of those who do not suffer heart damage during SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to a study by Hospital del Mar.

The work, published in the Journal

of Clinical Medicine

, recommends

routinely checking heart damage markers in blood

in patients hospitalized for covid-19 in order to carefully monitor these long-term problems.

Dr. Andrea Izquierdo, assistant doctor at the Hospital del Mar Cardiology Service, co-author of the study, has recommended "routinely checking heart damage markers in the blood of patients admitted for COVID-19 in order to help guide treatment , in-hospital management and post-hospital management, when the patient is discharged".

The researchers verified the evolution over a year of 86 patients who had been admitted to the Hospital del Mar and the Joan XXIII Hospital in Tarragona for COVID-19 and who had high levels of troponin in their blood, a protein that is released when damage occurs in the heart muscle, myocardium.

Their data was compared with 86 other patients admitted for the same reason, but without this problem, and both groups were equivalent in terms of age and sex.

In the case of the first group, "although the patients had overcome covid-19 and had returned home, they were readmitted more and had higher mortality during the first year of follow-up than patients without the indicator of heart damage in the blood," according to Izquierdo. .

In addition, half of the patients with this elevated marker underwent tests six months after discharge, and found that

in those who had suffered heart damage, the heart had thicker walls

, a factor surely related to suffering from high blood pressure and not with the covid-19.

The researchers have highlighted that

people who had high levels of troponin in their blood had a worse starting situation

than those who did not, with greater associated comorbidities, such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney failure, or episodes of heart failure.

For this reason, the section head of the Hospital del Mar Coronary Unit, Núria Ribas, has pointed out that it is a

group that "must be followed more closely to avoid these readmissions".

The readmissions required by 10.5% of the patients in this group, compared to 1.2% in the other group, occurred for reasons not associated with covid-19.

This makes

troponin levels in the blood a "good indicator of poor long-term prognosis in patients with covid-19

, despite having overcome the disease and independently of age and sex," Ribas stressed.

Until now, this indicator of heart damage had been related to the risk of problems in patients during admission, but not once the patients had already been discharged from the hospital.

The researcher at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), Jaume Marrugat, also an author of the study, has highlighted that the advantage of this indicator is that "given that it is a relatively cheap determination and available in all hospitals, doing it in all COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization is feasible and offers risk stratification not only during hospitalization, but also in the long term."

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