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Fort Wayne doctor concerned about COVID-19 heart impacts

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - It's well-known that COVID-19 can lead to complications after contracting the virus.

Dr. Matthew Bilodeau, an interventional cardiologist at Lutheran Hospital, says more evidence points to COVID-19 being a vascular disease. That means heart issues can result from contracting the virus.

Bilodeau says people of all ages and health statuses can be susceptible to heart and vascular complications, but those with preexisting heart conditions, like coronary artery disease, lung disease, or diabetes, are at greater risk.

Those hospitalized can end up with heart complications during their infection---and down the road. Dr. Bilodeau says that around 30% of hospitalized patients end up with a heart complication, like myocarditis, which is an inflammation injury of the heart.

Like other COVID-19 complications, older age groups are more at risk. But that doesn't mean younger people aren't out of the woods. Its effects on the heart also distinguish it from the common cold. Bilodeau says heart complications are pretty minimal with the flu, distinguishing COVID-19 as a more serious illness.

Long term heart issues are yet another reason to keep up efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"A lot of the steps that we've talked about to either prevent illness or mitigate it do work. So completing the vaccination series, wearing masks, keeping your distance, and hand washing are keys to both preventing infection and limiting the severity of your illness if you become infected."

--Dr. Matthew Bilodeau, Lutheran Hospital Cardiologist
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Gabe Prough

Gabe Prough is the Weekend Evening Meteorologist for ABC21. A northeast Indiana native, he joined the StormTrack weather team in December 2019.

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