Hyderabad: A poorly understood medical condition that has acquired the self-contradictory nickname of “happy hypoxia,” is causing deaths among Covid-19 patients.
“This is a condition that many physicians involved in Covid-19 treatment are unaware of. The patient appears perfectly healthy and normal, he could even be walking without any apparent discomfort or talking to others. But there just isn’t enough oxygen in the blood among these patients and that leads to catastrophic heart failure, ”according to Dr. Sreenivas Kumar, director, cardiology and clinical research, at the city’s Apollo hospitals.
Hypoxia is a persistent low blood oxygen saturation caused by severely reduced lung function and a problem of blood oxygen binding. When this happens, it leads to sudden heart failure, Dr. Kumar told the Deccan Chronicle. Such cases are being seen among Covid-19 patients in the city, he added.
Dr. Kumar’s assessment of causes of death among Covid-19 patients, including the “happy hypoxia” condition, comes as authorities from the Government Thorax Hospital see cases of younger Covid patients -19 with heart failure, even when they don’t have any previous heart health history. Usually, when blood oxygen levels drop, resulting in hypoxia, the body responds to increased carbon dioxide levels, resulting in shortness of breath and even in patients who lose consciousness.
But in the case of Covid-19, undetected hypoxia appears to be one of the virus’ specialties. “Unless doctors are looking for it, the patient appears quite normal in many ways until the terminal event of heart failure occurs,” said Dr. Kumar.
“Heart-related problems are more common among elderly Covid-19 patients and in people with pre-existing high blood pressure or diabetes, or who have previously had heart attacks,” said Dr. Kumar.
Many heart-related complications, including acute heart attacks, can develop as the virus progressively invades all parts of the body and also due to secondary bacterial infections and sepsis that develop in the body.
“It is very important not to skip or stop taking heart, BP, sugar or cholesterol medications in these difficult times, since in this way we could avoid contracting infections or at least avoid more dangerous complications, even if a person contracts the coronavirus.” said.