The potential role of SARS-CoV-2 infection in acute coronary syndrome and type 2 myocardial infarction (T2MI): Intertwining spread

Immun Inflamm Dis. 2023 Mar;11(3):e798. doi: 10.1002/iid3.798.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It has been shown that SARS-CoV-2 infection-induced inflammatory and oxidative stress and associated endothelial dysfunction may lead to the development of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Therefore, this review aimed to ascertain the link between severe SARS-CoV-2 infection and ACS. ACS is a spectrum of acute myocardial ischemia due to a sudden decrease in coronary blood flow, ranging from unstable angina to myocardial infarction (MI). Primary or type 1 MI (T1MI) is mainly caused by coronary plaque rupture and/or erosion with subsequent occlusive thrombosis. Secondary or type 2 MI (T2MI) is due to cardiac and systemic disorders without acute coronary atherothrombotic disruption. Acute SARS-CoV-2 infection is linked with the development of nonobstructive coronary disorders such as coronary vasospasm, dilated cardiomyopathy, myocardial fibrosis, and myocarditis. Furthermore, SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with systemic inflammation that might affect coronary atherosclerotic plaque stability through augmentation of cardiac preload and afterload. Nevertheless, major coronary vessels with atherosclerotic plaques develop minor inflammation during COVID-19 since coronary arteries are not initially and primarily targeted by SARS-CoV-2 due to low expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 in coronary vessels. In conclusion, SARS-CoV-2 infection through hypercytokinemia, direct cardiomyocyte injury, and dysregulation of the renin-angiotensin system may aggravate underlying ACS or cause new-onset T2MI. As well, arrhythmias induced by anti-COVID-19 medications could worsen underlying ACS.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-Cov-2 infection; acute coronary syndrome; acute myocardial ischemia; arrhythmias; atherosclerotic plaques.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome* / complications
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Myocardial Infarction* / complications
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic* / complications
  • SARS-CoV-2