Research will tackle heart damage left by COVID-19
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Research will tackle heart damage left by COVID-19

Media Release - 16 December 2020

New research funded by the Heart Foundation will investigate the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on patients’ hearts, lungs and blood vessels.

The research aims to find ways to improve the long-term cardiovascular health of COVID-19
patients who are left with lingering complications after they recover from the initial infection.

Two Melbourne researchers have each received $100,000 from the Heart Foundation to support their investigations:

  • Professor David Kaye, from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, will investigate damage to the blood vessels in the lungs (pulmonary arteries) and the heart, and how this might contribute to ongoing breathless which is the most common persistent symptom after COVID-19. 

  •  Professor Thomas Marwick, University of Melbourne, will investigate the damage that COVID-19 does to the heart’s chambers and blood vessels, and how this damage can affect long-term cardiovascular function. The findings will contribute to new ways of detecting and managing these complications.

The research is partly funded by Sanofi Australia and Pfizer Australia.

Heart Foundation CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, congratulated the researchers.

“Research into the link between COVID-19 and heart disease is critical.

“Early studies have found that COVID-19 can have devastating effects on cardiovascular health but there is limited evidence about the long-term outcomes and how these cardiac complications can be prevented.

“COVID-19 infection may worsen existing heart conditions such as heart failure and increase the risk of having a heart attack.

“Cardiac arrhythmias (rhythm changes) are possible complications, and evidence suggests that COVID-19 can cause heart abnormalities in patients who previously had no history of heart disease.

“This research will give us a better understanding of the mechanisms behind this damage and will contribute to new ways to manage, reverse or even prevent this damage.”

Professor David Kaye said there was emerging evidence to suggest that COVID-19 may cause long-term damage to the heart and blood vessels of the lungs.

“In our study, we will measure the function of the heart and the pressures within the heart and pulmonary arteries at rest and during exercise in post-COVID patients,” he said.

“This will provide us with better methods to identify the issue, understand its mechanisms and provide much needed insights into the selection of potential treatments.”

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Resources for health professionals interested in physical activity....

How your heart works

How your heart works

How your heart works

Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to all parts of your body. The blood gives your body the oxygen and nourishment it needs to work properly. ...

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Information and resources for health professionals who are treating patients between 18 - 40 years of age....

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests can measure the levels of substances such as blood fat to show if, and how much of, your heart has been damaged....

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Cardiac rehabilitation resources for healthcare providers

Cardiac rehabilitation resources for healthcare providers

Useful cardiac rehabilitation resources for health professionals....

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

WACRA are the peak leadership body in Western Australian advancing research into heart, stroke and vascular disease to accelerate translation and improve health outcomes....

Q&A with Dr Jennifer Browne

Q&A with Dr Jennifer Browne

Food and Nutrition Policy for First Nations peoples – translating evidence into action...

Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart Bypass Surgery

Coronary bypass surgery is a common procedure that can dramatically improve the health of your heart. ...

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it. ...

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

Kim shares the emotional and physical upheaval experienced on her journey to diagnosis and recovery....

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

This cardiac services directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....

National Action Plan for Heart and Stroke

National Action Plan for Heart and Stroke

National Action Plan for Heart and Stroke

The national heart and stroke action plan aims to identify and prioritise action to reduce the impact of heart disease and stroke....

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's stories from around Australia...

Our research stories

Our research stories

Our research stories

We fund amazing researchers who have important stories to tell...

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

Open heart surgery to treat damaged heart valves has improved Jan's overall health....

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Find heart healthy Italian recipes....

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Absolute CVD risk assessment is an integrated approach that estimates the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke event in the next five years....

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where your heart beats irregularly and fast....

End of Financial Year Tax Receipt

End of Financial Year Tax Receipt

End of Financial Year Tax Receipt

Looking to claim your donations in your tax return this financial year?...

The Heart Failure Toolkit

The Heart Failure Toolkit

The Toolkit provides health services with a targeted approach to addressing readmission rates and decreasing variation in care....