A study has shown that Covid-19 survivors could be prone to heart damage. The researchers found that the chances of a heart attack, stroke or any other major cardiovascular disease in the first 12 months after recovery from covid increases depending on the severity of the initial illness.

According to the study, the heart damage from Covid-19 would not be evident until a while after recovery and not when the disease is in its initial stages.

It further found that even people who never needed to be hospitalized from covid, that is. people who were sick but were not sick enough to be hospitalized, are in danger of developing heart failure and deadly blood clots possibly a year later.

What this means

The study revealed that the increased likelihood of lethal heart complications in Covid survivors will add to the already alarming rate of heart failure and stroke annually.

Director of the clinical epidemiology center at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System and the leader of the researchers, Ziyad Al-Aly, said, “The aftereffects of Covid-19 are substantial. Governments and health systems must wake up to the reality that Covid will cast a tall shadow in the form of long Covid, and has devastating consequences. I am concerned that we are not taking this seriously enough.”

The researchers found that non-hospitalized patients had a 39% increased risk of developing heart failure and over two times increased risk of pulmonary embolism which is a deadly blood clot, compared with someone who didn’t develop the disease.

This means that we should expect an extra 5.8 cases of heart failure and 2.8 cases of pulmonary embolism for every 1,000 Covid patients who had no need to be hospitalized.

Although these researchers are still trying to fully understand the causes of heart damage in Covid patients, other possible catalysts could include lingering damage from direct viral invasion of heart-muscle cells and the cells that line blood vessels, blood clots and aberrant and persistent inflammation, the authors said.

In addition, the researchers said that observations from previous pandemics and major events of disaster suggest that social isolation, financial distress, changes in dietary habits and physical activity, as well as trauma and grief, which are indirect effects on the covid-19 disease may also influence the risks for cardiovascular disease, they said.