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COVID-19 Heart Complications: COVID-19 May Cause These Long-Term Heart Complications, According to New Research


COVID-19 Heart Complications: COVID-19 May Cause These Long-Term Heart Complications, According to New Research

New research published in the journal Nature Medicine has found that people with COVID-19 may be at “substantial” risk of heart complications for at least one year following testing positive. The heart complications can include blood clots, irregular heart rhythm, inflammation, heart attack, and heart failure. In some cases, the complications have even resulted in death. 

In the study, which was published last Monday, researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) health system, with the results of 153,760 people who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2021 being taken into account. The researchers then compared them to two control groups of people who, to their knowledge, didn’t have COVID-19 at the time of data collection. One was a group of 5.6 million people who accessed the V.A. medical system during the pandemic (the contemporary controls), as well as 5.8 million people (the historical controls) who accessed the V.A. system in 2017, before the pandemic. It is the first study to analyze such a large group in relation to cardiovascular outcomes after COVID-19. 

The researchers analyzed the health results of these nearly 154,000 veterans with COVID-19, and compared to these two other groups, one year after the acute phase of infection—a time soon after the onset of infection when several physiological processes occur—patients who had been infected with COVID-19 were found to have increases in 20 different heart health issues. That included a 52% higher risk of stroke than the contemporary controls as well as a 63% higher risk for heart attack, a 69% higher risk for irregular heart rhythm, and a 72% higher risk of heart failure. “Because of the chronic nature of these conditions, they will likely have long-lasting consequences for patients and health systems and also have broad implications on economic productivity and life expectancy,” study co-author Ziyad Al-Aly, M.D., of the V.A. St. Louis Health Care System and Washington University in St. Louis said on Twitter.

Perhaps the most concerning finding in the research was that the…

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