Amongst the 355 deaths that were reported in Italy on March 17, it appears that 76% of them had hypertension and 33% of them had heart disease. In China, the case fatality rate of people underlying with conditions of heart disease was 10.5% compared to the overall fatality rate of 2.3%. Researchers say that COVID- 19 might pose a threat to heart patients because of the method in which the virus gets into the cells.
To invade a cell, SARS-CoV-2 latches onto a protein called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2. This protein is found on cells in the lungs, allowing the virus to invade these cells and cause respiratory symptoms. But ACE2 also is on heart muscle cells and cells that line the blood vessels.
Considering this analysis, researchers have stated that COVID-19 might pose as a threat to heart patients. Moreover, in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak started, some people with COVID-19 have developed a myocardial injury, the death of heart cells for reasons other than a heart attack.
Until now, there is no concrete data on how to inhibit the enzyme, so researchers advise all heart patients to take precautionary steps to avoid any form of infection possible.