CPR During Covid: Effects on Heart and Role of CPR

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Covid-19, also known as the newly discovered Coronavirus, is an infectious disease. COVID-19 may attack the endothelial cells that line the vessels of the heart. Know what is the role of CPR during covid -19 in this article.

People infected with the coronavirus disease will experience severe to mild symptoms. However, a large population of those infected do not require specialized treatment. People at a higher risk of developing severe Covid 19 symptoms have underlying conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and extreme respiratory problems. The infection spreads through droplets from saliva and coughing. Therefore, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by acquiring as much knowledge as possible about the disease.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19 Infection?

Most people infected with Covid 19 pandemic don’t show any symptoms, commonly referred to as asymptomatic. Alteration of taste and smell, and anosmia, is suspected to be early symptom of COVID-19 and is occasionally reported as a phenomenon of upper respiratory viral infection. The most common symptoms are:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rashes
  • Discoloration of fingers or toes

Persons with the severe disease have difficulty moving, chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, or abnormal heart rhythms. It takes an infected person between five and fourteen days to show symptoms. However, it’s important to remember that any sign that interferes with your daily life is worth a call to your health care providers, who can help you address these problems and improve the quality of your life.

COVID 19 and Persons With Existing Heart Conditions

People with cardiovascular disease are at a higher risk of getting severe symptoms when infected with Coronavirus. Heart illnesses leave the heart with some problems which make the individual vulnerable to Covid 19:

  • Blockage in blood vessels
  • Damage to the heart muscles
  • Weakening of the body’s immune system

Studies show that people with pre-existing heart conditions are more likely to acquire the Coronavirus. They are also more vulnerable to the effects of the illness on the body. Fever, clotting disorders, high blood pressure, and low oxygen levels are common among Covid 19 patients.

Persons with heart disease have poor metabolic health defined by conditions such as obesity and type two diabetes. These conditions increase the risk of blood clots and inflammation. In addition, when a person with a heart condition is infected with a deadly covid infection, there is an increased risk of developing complications or succumbing to the illness.

cpr during covid

Coronavirus and Heart Disease

One in four persons hospitalized with the COVID-19 pandemic (Coronavirus) has sustained injuries to their heart. The evidence is seen in the levels of enzyme troponin in their blood samples. Out of these, a third of these victims have pre-existing heart conditions. COVID- 19 (Coronavirus) damages the heart in different ways:

  • The virus might invade the heart muscles causing inflammation of the heart muscles.
  • COVID- 19 (Coronavirus) virus interferes with the supply of oxygen to the heart muscles, which might damage the heart

Inflammation of the heart muscles from the infection of COVID- 19 (Coronavirus)

Most people infected with COVID- 19 (Coronavirus) recover fully within a few weeks. However, one out of five infected populations develops pneumonia and only 5% advance to severe symptoms. Those with severe infections, their bodies react by excessively producing cytokines which are released into the blood. The condition is known as cytokine storm, damaging the heart and other major organs.

In some severe coronavirus cases, the heart muscles get inflamed -a critical condition known as myocarditis. Inflammation of the heart muscles can either result from a cytokine storm or when the virus invades the heart directly. The inflammation causes the heart to enlarge and weaken and high blood pressure. It also affects the lungs leading to fluid accumulation. Some cases of heart muscle inflammation are mild, with only a few leading to complications and death. However, three out of four persons who have recovered from the Coronavirus have shown evidence of asymptomatic inflammation from their magnetic resonance imaging reports.

cpr during covid

Deviation in the demand and supply of oxygen is damaging to the liver:

For covid-19 patients, the infection and symptoms such as fever increase the heart rate, which overworks the liver. A drop in blood pressure may also overwork the heart. The heart gets damaged when overworked with conditions of low oxygen. The state is worse for persons with pre-existing heart conditions or instances of a heart attack.

A heart attack often occurs from the blockage of arteries from blood clots, spasms, or plague formation. Coronavirus increases the risk of a heart attack. The inflammation increases the risk for the formation of blood clots and disrupts the lining of blood vessels. The inflamed lining of blood vessels is more susceptible to the formation of blood clots. Blood clots formed within vessels serving the heart affect the supply of oxygen and nutrients to that part. The increased clot formation can also affect the lungs. Blood clots formed within the lungs affect the functioning of the lungs, which affects the oxygen levels in the blood.

What is the Role of CPR During COVID 19 to Patients?

The Coronavirus manifests in the respiratory system. At severe stages, the victims of the disease have difficulty breathing or completely stop breathing (cardiopulmonary arrest). The immediate patient performance will be helpful as it will increase the chances of survival. However, studies show that CPR is a highly aerosol-generating procedure. CPR

When a person stops breathing, the heart is unable to pump blood to the rest of the body organs. The brain, which controls major body functions, dies within minutes if the oxygen supply is cut off. The result is usually permanent brain damage or death. The human blood has enough oxygen to keep the person alive for close to an hour.

The performance of rescue breathing helps in supplying the victim with oxygen through the lungs wherever the individual has difficulty breathing or stops breathing altogether. The procedure involves breathing directly into the victim’s mouth or nose. A barrier is commonly used in strangers and persons suffering from highly contagious infections. Though the rescue breaths are essential, giving chest compressions until help arrives will be helpful.

However, CPR and rescue breaths alone cannot restore the heartbeat. The automated external defibrillator is applied to a cardiac arrest victim to deliver electric current to the heart.

Performing CPR to Children and Infants

The caretaker of children should always be on the watch for children showing signs of Coronavirus. If a child or infant experiences difficulty breathing, the caregiver should call for help and start CPR within the shortest time possible. However, if untrained, the individual should rush the child to the hospital before progressing into a cardiac disease.

CPR During Covid

Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kit for Covid-19 Patients

The rescuer is advised to make use of personal protective equipment if accessible. Such include medical masks, gloves, face shield\googles, and protective gowns. After use, the personal protective equipment should be appropriately taken off and disposed of. After removing the protective equipment, the rescuer should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the COVID -19 virus. After chest compressions, the rescuer should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Alternatively, the individual can use alcohol-based hand gel to sanitize their hands.

When performing CPR, first cover the victim’s mouth and nose with a piece of cloth or towel. Mechanical CPR devices should be used in place of manual devices as this will reduce the number of professionals required to attend to a specific patient. Before accessing the scene, all rescuers should wear the recommended PPE per the institutional guidelines.

Whether or not to provide CPR depends on certain factors which determine the chances of survival of the victim, such as the victim’s age and underlying illnesses and health conditions. In addition, every institution has its guidelines on when to perform to stop performing CPR.

During the ongoing pandemic, every victim should be treated with suspicion. You should never leave anything to chance when attending to a sick person since some victims of the Coronavirus do not show any symptoms. Performing CPR can lead to the transmission of Coronavirus in various ways. The procedure involves teams working closely together and is highly aerosol generating. Cardiac arrest cases exert a lot of pressure on those involved and could compromise recommended standards.

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