A type of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19, an illness infamous for its effects on the lungs and airways.
However, as the authors of the latest review — which features in the journal JAMA Cardiology— explain, acute respiratory infections “are well-recognized triggers for cardiovascular diseases.”
For instance, scientists have shown that influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and bacterial pneumonia can affect cardiovascular health and increase the severity of the condition. In fact, the authors explain, “during most influenza epidemics, more patients die of cardiovascular causes than pneumonia-influenza causes.”
As our understanding of COVID-19 is still evolving, the authors reference earlier research on similar coronavirus outbreaks, including studies investigating severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).