People who battled COVID-19, including those who weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized, may face an increased risk of major heart problems one year after infection, according to a new report.
Researchers at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System in Missouri found that COVID survivors who weren’t hospitalized had a 39 percent increased risk of developing heart failure in the first year compared to someone who never had the virus, Bloomberg reports.
They also had a 119 percent increased risk of developing a potentially fatal blood clot and a 24 percent increased risk of having a stroke, the study found.
The increased risks were even greater for those who were hospitalized with the virus, with a 482 percent chance of cardiac arrest, 270 percent for heart failure and an 855 percent chance of blood clots.
Almost one in seven patients who were admitted to ICU with COVID were at an increased risk of suffering a major adverse cardiac event in the first year, the study showed.
The study used data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs national healthcare database.
The researchers compared data from 151,195 veterans who survived COVID to more than 3.6 million who did not contract the virus.
“The aftereffects of COVID-19 are substantial,” Ziyad Al-Aly, who led the research, said.
“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.”
Researchers and health experts are still studying the cause of heart damage in COVID survivors.
They are also still probing long COVID, which is the prolonged symptoms of coronavirus.
The study is yet to be peer-reviewed and is currently under consideration for publication in the Nature Portfolio Journal.