Decreased Heart Rate Variability in COVID-19


On March 12, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak had become a pandemic. COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which primarily infects the lower airways and binds to Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) on alveolar epithelial cells. ACE2 is widely expressed, not only in the lungs but also in the cardiovascular system. Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 can also damage the myocardium. We analysed three COVID-19 cases that resulted in death and found that either COVID-19 or antiviral drugs could affect the coupling between the autonomic nervous system and the sinus node, thus affecting heart rate variability and preventing the heart rate from rising in response to the increase in body temperature. Early detection of the preclinical phase of cardiac autonomic dysfunction may help determine patients in need of aggressive treatment and control of cardiovascular risk factors. Antiviral drugs should be used with caution in patients with heart injury.


The coronavirus disease 2019, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, heart rate variability, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

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Article Info

Article Type
Case Report and Review of the Literature
Publication history
Received: Thu 07, Oct 2021
Accepted: Sat 23, Oct 2021
Published: Mon 13, Dec 2021
© 2021 Lei Xu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository.
DOI: 10.31487/j.JICOA.2021.04.03

Author Info

Corresponding Author
Lei Xu
Department of Critical Care Medicine, Tianjin Third Central Hospital, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Extracorporeal Life Support for Critical Diseases, Artificial Cell Engineering Technology Research Center, Tianjin Institute of Hepatobiliary Disease, Tianjin, China

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