COVID Survivors Will Always Be At Risk For These Deadly Complications

A new study of VA patients found that individuals who survive COVID-19 have a higher chance of suffering from a variety of cardiovascular issues down the line.

Researchers studied health outcomes for patients in the Veterans Affairs healthcare database who were infected with COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2021 and compared them to their peers who did not catch COVID-19 during that same time period, as well as peers from prior to the pandemic.

They found that one year after infection COVID-19 patients were at a higher risk of developing conditions including heart failure, stroke, dysrhythmia, pericarditis, myocarditis, cardiac arrest, and more.

On the whole, veterans who had COVID-19 had a 72% higher risk of heart failure and 63% higher risk of any negative cardiovascular outcome than those who had not had the virus.

Patients over age 65 faced more significant risk increases for most conditions, including major adverse cardiac events (MACE) like strokes and mortality-inducing conditions. Men faced a higher risk increase for all conditions studied, as did smokers.

Risk increases also correlated appreciably with the severity of COVID-19 infection. Patients who were not hospitalized still had a higher risk of developing heart problems, but it ranged from one-half to less than one-tenth of the risk increase for patients who were in the ICU.

Given the timing of the study, virtually all infections occurred before COVID-19 vaccines were widely available in the United States.

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