COVID-19: Increased risk for those with CVD and stroke survivors

COVID-19 is prompting widespread questions and concerns about the heightened risk for those with heart disease and stroke survivors.

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is responding to consumer questions through our websites, support networks, social media and other channels with the help of our volunteer medical and scientific research experts on the frontline of this pandemic.

Based on current information, it appears elderly people with coronary heart disease or hypertension are more likely to be infected and to develop more severe symptoms. Stroke survivors and others living with heart disease may also face increased risk for complications if they get COVID-19. Those with hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease are experiencing mortality rates 2-3-fold higher than the general population (according to the WHO-China Joint Mission report). In addition, recent reports of profound myocarditis and fatal arrhythmias demonstrate the critical influence of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system.

Mitchell S.V. Elkind, M.D., M.S., FAAN, FAHA, American Heart Association president-elect, and professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University in New York, responded to questions from stroke survivors about COVID-19. Many responses could apply to anyone with heart disease or risk factors.

The Association has curated comprehensive resources for consumers and for health care providers. In addition, the Association’s 12 scientific journals is fast-track publishing the latest research related to COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease.

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