COVID-19 is a relatively new disease and therefore more and more studies and research are required to understand it. Now, an analysis of federal health data has indicated that people who tested positive with COVID-19 are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular complications up to a year later. The complications included disruptive heart, stroke, blood clots, coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, or even death. According to the study, previously healthy individuals and those who have had mild COVID-19 infections too faced these problems.
The study, which has been published in Nature Medicine, was conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System.
“We wanted to build upon our past research on long-term effects of COVID-19 by taking a closer look at what is happening in the hearts of people infected with COVID-19,” said senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. “What we’re seeing isn’t good. COVID-19 can lead to serious cardiovascular complications and death. The heart does not regenerate or easily mend after heart damage. These are diseases that will affect people for a lifetime.”
The study holds significance as more than 380 people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus since the pandemic started.
“Consequently, the disease has, thus far, contributed to 15 million new cases of heart disease worldwide,” said Al-Aly, who treats patients within the VA St. Louis Health Care System. “This is quite significant. For anyone who was tested positive with COVID1-9, it is very important that heart health be an integral part of post-acute COVID care.”
This is because cardiovascular disease – an umbrella term that refers to almost all types of heart conditions, thrombosis and stroke – is the leading cause of death in America and the world. According to an estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every four Americans dies of heart disease each year.