COVID- 19 takes a heavy toll on the blood vessels and the heart of its victims. People who recover from the same have a higher risk of developing serious cardiovascular disorders in the following year. The disorders include stroke, atrial fibrillation, myocarditis, heart failure, and arrhythmias.

The risks increase with the seriousness of the infection. This means that the people who require intensive care for COVID suffer the worst cardiovascular diseases. Overall, the pandemic appears to be indiscriminate, wreaking havoc on cardiovascular systems and increasing risks in all groups of patients. 

Study On COVID, Veterans Participate In An Open-Access Study

A study was published this week in Nature Medicine by researchers at the VA St. Louis Health Care System and Washington University in St. Louis, which stated all the previous information. It was an open-access study and involved more than 11 million veterans.

The study tapped into the massive database of health records at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has data from patients at 1,255 health care facilities across the United States. 

The authors, led by clinical epidemiologists Yan Xie and Ziyad Al-Aly, focused on 153,760 veterans who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and January 15, 2021, and survived at least 30 days afterward. They then assembled a comparison group of 5.6 million veterans from the same time frame who did not test positive and a historical comparison group that included health records from 2017 from an additional 5.9 million veterans.

The authors then looked at the incidence of the pre-determined serious heart diseases over the course of a year in three cohorts. They also took into consideration the excess burden of disease linked with COVID-19.

“Governments and health systems around the world should be prepared to deal with the likely significant contribution of the COVID-19 pandemic to a rise in the burden of cardiovascular diseases,” the authors caution. “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.”