The death of a woman, who is believed to be the first COVID-19 victim in the U.S., has been attributed to a ruptured heart as her autopsy revealed the body’s struggle to fight the deadly virus.

Patricia Dowd– a 57-year-od woman from San Jose, California, died at her home on Feb.6 from a heart attack while suffering from what previously was assumed to be the flu. But officials now pointed out that she had COVID-19 which wasn’t diagnosed at that time.

Here’s what her autopsy revealed:

  • Her body struggled so hard against the coronavirus that a valve in the heart had ruptured
  • The heart muscle was infected and that’s what caused the rupture
  • The patient’s heart was weakened. Her immune system which was fighting the virus and while doing so, damaged the heart
  • SARS-CoV-2 RNA detected in the heart, trachea, lungs, and intestines.
  • Transmural myocardial ischemia with a minor component of myocarditis which revealed the rupture of the left ventricle of the heart
  • Class 1 obesity with mild cardiac dilation

“There’s an indication the heart was weakened. The immune system was attacking the virus and in attacking the virus it damaged the heart and then the heart basically burst,” Mercury News quoted Dr. Judy Melinek, a Bay Area forensic pathologist who reviewed the autopsy report.

The woman's husband demanded an autopsy since Dowd had good exercise habits and was generally in good health.

Dowd, a manager at a semiconductor company, became sick in late January when she exhibited flu-like symptoms. Although she appeared to recover, she died on Feb.6 while working from home.

Until six weeks after Dowd’s death, the San Francisco Bay Area officials did not issue stay-at-home orders.

“If we had understood then that people were already dying, we probably would have acted earlier than we did. Dowd’s death, and the deaths of two others on Feb. 17 and Mar. 6, shows the virus was spreading on the West Coast earlier than officials thought. All three of their deaths appear to have stemmed from community transmission of the virus,” Dr. Sara Cody, a health official in Santa Clara County, said.

coronavirus creates lasting harmful effects to the heart, kidneys, and liver
coronavirus creates lasting harmful effects to the heart, kidneys, and liver Tumisu - Pixabay