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Narrative Review

Vol. 20 No. 1 (2022)

The Interplay Between COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Disease

April 12, 2021


Introduction: The emergence of the global COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has created a substantial burden on healthcare systems worldwide. The systemic impacts of COVID-19 infection are severe and broad in their implications, and the cardiovascular system is no exception. Discussion: Patients with a history of cardiovascular disease are at an increased risk for hospitalization and mortality, and COVID-19 infection has now been demonstrated to initiate acute, but serious, episodes of cardiovascular events such as stroke. Considering the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe and the inability of healthcare systems to address and adequately respond to the pandemic, therein lies an increased need for understanding the interplay between COVID-19 infection and cardiovascular disease. SARS-CoV-2 relies on binding the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptor to infect host cells, with ACE2 representing a critical regulator of blood pressure homeostasis and proper cardiovascular functioning. Conclusion: Identifying the exact role of ACE2 in COVID-19 infection will have major implications for understanding the disease; therefore, here we have reviewed ACE2’s involvement in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 infection and the resulting end-organ damage. In addition, we have summarized how COVID-19 affects cardiovascular physiology, and how COVID-19 infection can manifest in acute cardiovascular events. Finally, we examine why patients with cardiovascular disease are at an increased risk of succumbing to COVID-19 and what the long-term cardiovascular implications of COVID-19 infection could mean. Relevance: This paper discusses the cardiovascular consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic.


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