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Local doctor warns of dangers of condition possibly linked to COVID-19

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Posted at 8:51 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 20:51:37-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A local doctor is warning of the possible dangers of a condition possibly linked to COVID-19 and could be deadly for athletes.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle and could lead to long-term complications or death, Dr. Ryan Serrano, a cardiologist at Riley Hospital for Children, says. It can also cause the heart to beat too fast or too slow.

Serrano said it's important for anyone with symptoms of chest pain, fever, or trouble breathing, especially if you recently had COVID-19, to go to the doctor. An MRI is required to determine if someone has myocarditis.

"I think the takeaways are we still don't know a lot about what this virus can do to people and just because you're young and healthy doesn't mean you won't be affected by this virus," Serrano said.

The condition has been making headlines this week after Penn State clarified comments made by Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, Penn State's director of athletic medicine, according to reports from the Washington Post and Fox News.

While it depends on each person and their symptoms, Serrano said it could force athletes to be restricted for three to six months and until tests return normal.

"It seems kind of drastic, but we do that because when your heart is inflamed, if you exercise you put yourself at risk for sudden death which is a known thing that happens in people with myocarditis," Serrano said.