Within a year of a COVID-19 coronavirus infection, patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including deadly strokes and heart attacks, report scientists at Washington University in St. Louis in the journal Nature Medicine.
Even those who have had mild to moderate COVID-19 have an increased risk of developing circulatory problems, the scientists said.
The researchers analyzed data from 153,760 people with COVID-19, as well as two control groups of more than five million people each, to assess cardiovascular risk after coronavirus infection.
It turned out that after the first 30 days of COVID-19 the risk of stroke increased by 1.52 times, and the risk of transient ischemic attacks (short-term disturbance of blood circulation in the brain) by 1.49 times. The risk of atrial fibrillation increased 1.71-fold; sinus tachycardia and bradycardia, 1.74-fold and 1.53-fold, respectively; ventricular arrhythmia, 1.84-fold; and atrial flutter, 1.8-fold.
COVID-19 also appeared to increase the risk of inflammatory heart disease: pericarditis and myocarditis, which increased 1.85-fold and 5.38-fold, respectively. The frequency of coronary heart disease (acute coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, coronary cardiomyopathy, and angina) increased 1.52-1.75-fold. Other cardiovascular events observed in patients with coronavirus infection included heart failure, nonischemic cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrest, and cardiogenic shock, with an overall risk increased 1.72-fold. The risk of thromboembolic disorders (clogged arteries and veins) increased 2.39-fold.
All of these risks are increased regardless of age, race, sex, and other cardiovascular factors, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and hyperlipidemia, the scientists said. Increased risks were also seen in people who did not have any cardiovascular disease before coronavirus infection and in those who were not hospitalized during the acute phase of coronavirus infection. At the same time, the more severe the infection, the higher was the probability of post-coronary complications.