An electrocardiogram revealed an ominous heart rhythm. The patient had high blood levels of a protein called troponin, a sign of damaged heart muscle. Doctors rushed to open the patient’s blocked arteries — but found that no arteries were blocked.
The patient was not having a heart attack. The culprit was the coronavirus.
The Brooklyn patient recovered after 12 days in the hospital and is now at home. But there have been reports of similar patients in the United States and abroad, and the cases have raised troubling questions for doctors.
What should doctors do these days when they see patients with apparent heart attacks? Should they first rule out coronavirus infection — or is that a waste of valuable time for the majority of patients who are actually having heart attacks?