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Shona Ferguson: Death triggers conversation on long COVID and heart health

DA politician Mbali Ntuli’s tweet following actor Shona Ferguson’s death last Friday, has sparked a conversation about post-COVID heart problems.

Omicron record high cases

Image: stock image via Unsplash

The death of local film mogul Shona Ferguson on Friday 30 August due to COVID-19 complications, started a conversation on Twitter about the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Sunday World, which first broke the news, had reported that Ferguson was rushed to the Milpark Private Hospital, in Johannesburg, after he started complaining about chest pains and not being able to breathe properly.

Ferguson has been laid to rest in a private funeral service this morning (4 August).

ALSO READ: BREAKING: TV producer Shona Ferguson DIES from COVID-19


Following Ferguson’s death, 33-year-old DA politician Mbali Ntuli spoke out on Twitter about how badly her heart has been affected since she had COVID-19 last year. Ntuli also shockingly mentioned that she might need a pacemaker.

Last year I had a very bad case of COVID. It affected my heart. Went for checkup this week and doctor says my heart has gotten worse as an after affect of COVID & may require a pacemaker. Going to see another specialist for more tests but have to say I’m quite numb, said Ntuli.

Twitter user @Le_thaboo was relieved that he wasn’t the only one feeling similar after-effects from COVID-19 and Ntuli urged him to get himself checked out.

I knew it! so I’m not going crazy, I have the same problem, irregular beating, numbness in my left shoulder and chest. The symptoms started when I was recovering from COVID back in January. I started exercising hoping the problem will stop, it has helped a bit but not completely, he responded.

Another user wished Ntuli well and mentioned that he’s also in the same boat.

Thinking of you, I am in the same boat. Had a defibrillator implanted in June after covid messed up my heart in January. I battle with 19% ejection fraction as a result. Good luck to you, hope you get all the help you need, he said.


There is a potential link between COVID-19 survivors and the heart condition myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart muscle. A study done by Bhurint Siripanthong and colleagues points out that there are a number of COVID-19-related myocarditis cases that have been reported.

The pathophysiology of COVID-19-related myocarditis is thought to be a combination of direct viral injury and cardiac damage due to the host’s immune response.

A non-profit US academic medical centre, Mayo Clinic, explained the myocarditis links to viral infections, the symptoms and how it can affect your heart muscle and reduce your heart’s ability to pump which causes rapid and abnormal heart rhythms.

A viral infection usually causes myocarditis, but it can result from a reaction to a drug or be part of a more general inflammatory condition. Signs and symptoms include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), states the Mayo Clinic site.

Although the connection between COVID-19 and myocarditis isn’t clear in terms of the virus itself or the immune response to the virus, the symptoms described by Ntuli and Twitter users, it’s important for COVID-19 survivors to monitor their heart and other symptoms post-recovery.

ALSO READ: #RIPShonaFerguson: Tributes pour in for beloved actor and TV producer