Talking with LSU Health Pathologist about surprise findings on the heart & relation to Covid-19 deaths


NEW ORLEANS– Pathologists with LSU Health New Orleans made some significant and surprising findings about the heart and its relation to Covid-19 deaths.

LSU Health New Orleans Pathologists performed autopsies on the heart of 22 patients who died of Covid-19 at University Medical Center. What the pathologists found wasn’t what was originally thought.

“We did not find significant inflammation involving the heart,” Dr. Richard Vander Heide, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Director of Pathology Research at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine said.

What they found was a unique pattern of cell death in scattered individual heart muscles.

“These are important findings because early studies showed that inflammation of the heart may be associated with covid disease,” he said.

Dr. Vander Heide said that they also did important research on the lungs.

“It is very important to know that patients who are sick and dying of respiratory failure are not dying of cardiac problems. They are dying of pulmonary problems, that is the important finding,” Dr. Vander Heide stated.

He went on to say that, “Everyone knows lungs are primary target of this disease and causes death in most patients if not all patients.”

Their research and findings will help doctors when treating their Covid-19 patients in the future.

“It will help to better understand what organ systems are being affected by the virus. The heart manifestations of this disease is something that’s not a concern in causing a patient’s death,” he said.

Most of the 22 patients that they studied had underlying conditions like high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, or obesity.

All their findings are published in a research letter, “Circulation.”

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