Coronavirus infection is seen to wear off within weeks in most of the cases by the 14th day and a person is assumed to be cured when he or she is able to walk out of the hospital or resume their day-to-day life after the 14-day-long home isolation or home quarantine.
But nobody thinks about how the infection causes a number of clinically significant cardiovascular events in connection with what is being called as Post-COVID Syndrome or Long COVID.
However, according to a research paper, it has been seen conclusively that Covid-19 is a vascular disease, demonstrating exactly how the SARS-CoV-2 virus damages and attacks the vascular system on a cellular level.
The research paper has been published in the journal Circulation Research.
COVID-19 as a Vascular disease:
Uri Manor, Assistant Research Professor at the Salk Institute in California said, “A lot of people think of it as a respiratory disease, but it’s really a vascular disease.”
“That could explain why some people have strokes, and why some people have issues in other parts of the body. The commonality between them is that they all have vascular underpinnings,” Manor added.
Similarly, also a paper has been published in Practical Pain Management by Dr Don L Goldenberg (MD), to show how long-range cardiac symptoms may show up in patients with or without pre-existing Cardiovascular disease even after COVID recovery.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Long COVID can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if the illness was mild, or had no symptoms.
In the US, thousands of patients have reported symptoms ranging from
- shortness of breath,
- chronic fatigue,
- brain fog that causes difficulty concentrating,
- anxiety and stress.
CDC started reporting these issues July 2021 and, in the study, the CDC posted, more than a third of people had not returned to their usual state of health two to three weeks after testing positive
Dr. Santosh Kumar Dora, Senior Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute said, “Post recovery, patients may still be vulnerable and hence cardiac evaluation is advised. This is because covid-19 causes severe inflammation that can lead to heart attack and deep vein thrombosis (blood clot blocking a vein). These are life-threatening problems and need immediate management. Routine investigations in hospitalized covid patients show cardiac dysfunction in up to 33% of patients. Therefore, even in patients who are asymptomatic, or mildly symptomatic, we cannot rule out the concern of silent cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease).”
“Further, they may have not got hospitalized and thus did not undergo any specific cardiac investigation. One-fourth of patients recovering from covid-19 infection present with symptoms of extreme fatigue, breathlessness, palpitation, chest pain, etc. This too raises concern about cardiac involvement in these patients. In these patients, a routine cardiac evaluation is worth doing to detect any cardiac involvement by covid, so that a time management plan can prevent a bigger cardiac problem in future,” he added.
However, now the physicians know that post-Covid may be long-term damage and does not just damage the lungs, but also the heart, immune system, brain, and other organs. Imaging tests taken months after COVID-19 recovery have shown lasting damage to the heart muscle. This was even seen in people who experienced only mild COVID-19 symptoms.
This kind of damage was also seen in the case of a few athletes who had been stricken with COVID and this may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future.