Experts have performed an autopsy on the remains of the first assumed death from COVID-19 in the United States, which has allegedly revealed that the person died because of a ruptured heart. As per some news reports, the ruptured heart may have been triggered by the virus.
Patricia Dowd, a 57-years old from San Jose, California, died at home on February 6th after experiencing symptoms similar to the flu, The Mercury News said. Not long ago, an investigation into her death has been made, with doctors claiming that the woman has contacted the new coronavirus.
At first, Dowd’s death was believed to be the result of a heart attack. However, now, an autopsy report stated that the virus has spread to the woman’s heart muscle, and it was the infection that might have caused a valve in heart to break, the Mercury News said.
“The immune system was attacking the virus, and in attacking the virus, it damaged the heart and then the heart basically burst,” Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist who was actually not involved with Dowd’s case, told the news portal.
A Connection Between COVID-19 and Heart?
This kind of heart rupture happens more usually in people with high cholesterol levels or malformations in the heart muscle, Melinek explained. However, Dowd’s case is rather uncommon as her heart was, allegedly, of normal size and weight.
“There’s something abnormal about the fact that a perfectly normal heart has burst open,” Melinek told The San Francisco Chronicle. “Normal hearts don’t rupture.”
Dowd was allegedly in good health condition and exercised on a regular basis before she died. Some other studies seem to imply a sort of connection between COVID-19 and the heart, with rather small research made in China claiming that about one in five patients infected with the virus may end up with heart damage because of the disease, Live Science previously reported.