Cardiac complications in community-acquired pneumonia and COVID-19

C Feldman


Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) remains a global health problem with significant morbidity and mortality. Much recent published
literature about the infection has indicated that a substantial number of patients with CAP, particularly those ill enough to be admitted to
hospital, will suffer a cardiovascular event. While these may include events such as deep venous thrombosis and stroke, most of the events
involve the heart and include the occurrence of an arrhythmia (most commonly atrial fibrillation), new onset or worsening of heart failure
and acute myocardial infarction. While such cardiac events may occur, for example, in all-cause CAP and CAP due to influenza virus
infection, and more recently described with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, a significant amount of research work has been investigating the
pathogenic mechanisms of these cardiac events in patients with CAP due to Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and, more recently,
COVID-19 infections. Such research has identified a number of mechanisms by which these microorganisms may cause cardiovascular
events. Importantly, these cardiac events appear not only to be associated with in-hospital mortality, but they also appear to contribute
to longer-term mortality of patients with CAP, even after their discharge from hospital. This review will focus initially on studies of
cardiovascular events in all-cause CAP and pneumococcal CAP, excluding COVID-19 infection, and then address similar issues in the
latter infection.

Author's affiliations

C Feldman, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine 2020;26(2):51-55. DOI:10.7196/AJTCCM.2020.v26i2.077

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-05-14
Date published: 2020-05-14

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