Challenge of post-COVID era: management of cardiovascular complications in asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2

Heart Fail Rev. 2022 Jan;27(1):239-249. doi: 10.1007/s10741-021-10076-y. Epub 2021 Jan 11.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), a highly pathogenic member of family coronaviridae, has caused an exponentially growing global pandemic termed as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with more than 12 million cases worldwide till date. This deadly disease has average fatality rate of 6.5% and even higher among elderly patients and patients with comorbidities. SARS-CoV-2 uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) as the entry receptor into host cell. ACE-2, a type-I transmembrane metallocarboxypeptidase, is a critical regulator of the renin-angiotensin system. The entry of SARS-CoV-2 within host cells results in a reduced availability of ACE-2 on the host cell surface followed by significant downregulation of ACE-2 gene expression. As ACE-2 is a well-known cardio-protective molecule, its downregulation could result in severe cardiac disorders. This review deals with a challenging aspect of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients who are asymptomatic or have mild syndromes similar to influenza infections. These patients are proving to be the Achilles' heel to combat COVID-19 mainly in developing countries of South Asia, where the average number of tests conducted per million individuals is considerably low. Consequently, there is high possibility that individuals with negligible respiratory trouble will not be tested for SARS-CoV-2. Hence, a huge percentage of the population have the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders as a bystander effect of viral infection apart from being potential reservoir of disease transmission. Based on available demographic as well as molecular data, this review predicts a huge spike in cardiovascular disorders among this undetected reservoir in post COVID-19 era.

Keywords: ACE-2; Asymptomatic patients; COVID-19; Cardiovascular disorders; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19*
  • Heart Diseases*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Renin-Angiotensin System
  • SARS-CoV-2