Covid associated with increased risk of heart attack

Mexico City.- Some studies suggest that the risk of cardiovascular problems, such as a heart attack or a stroke, remains high even many months after the SARS-CoV-2 infection has disappeared.

According to an article in the journal Nature, researchers are beginning to pin down the frequency of these problems and the cause of the damage.

This is according to a study this year in which researchers used records from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to calculate how often Covid-19 causes cardiovascular problems.

They found that people who had had the disease had a substantially increased risk of 20 cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks and strokes, in the year following coronavirus infection.

The researchers say that these complications can occur even in people who appear to have fully recovered from a mild infection.

Although some smaller studies have shown these same results, others have found lower rates of post-Covid-19 complications.

With millions or even billions of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, doctors are wondering if a cardiovascular aftershock will follow the pandemic.

They look for the origin of cardiovascular risk

Meanwhile, researchers are trying to understand who is most at risk for these heart-related problems, how long the risk persists, and what causes these symptoms.

“We don’t know if this changes the trajectory of risk for heart attack or stroke or other cardiac events throughout life, we just don’t know,” says cardiologist Stuart Katz, who works at New York University. York.

Although doctors have reported cardiovascular problems related to Covid-19 throughout the pandemic, concern has increased after the results of a study earlier this year that compared the health of 150,000 US veterans who recovered from Covid-19. 19 acute with their colleagues who were not infected and a control group.

The team led by epidemiologist Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, found that those who fell ill with Covid-19 have a higher risk of cardiovascular problems in the year following infection, even if they have not been hospitalized, and the risk is “drastically higher” if they were in intensive care.

Regarding the mechanism of the virus on the heart, the effect of Covid-19 could be related to the key protein that the virus uses to enter cells. It binds to a protein called ACE2, which can be found on the surface of various types of human cells.

This, according to Al-Aly, gives him “access and permission to enter almost any cell in the body.”

When the virus enters the endothelial cells that line blood vessels, that’s probably where a lot of cardiovascular problems start, says Eric Topol, a genomics expert at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California.

Blood clots form naturally to heal damage while the body clears the infection. These clots can clog blood vessels, causing damage as minor as leg pain or as serious as a heart attack.

Although Topol believes more research is needed before scientists can truly quantify how often cardiovascular problems occur.

Some other studies point in the same direction.

They study factors associated with risk

Data from England’s health system, for example, shows that people who were hospitalized for Covid-19 were about three times more likely to suffer from major cardiovascular problems in the eight months following their hospitalization.

A second study found that, in the four months after infection, people who had had Covid-19 had about a 2.5 times greater risk of suffering from congestive heart failure compared to those who had not been infected.

While researcher Sarah Wulf Hanson, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, in Seattle, used Al-Aly data to estimate the number of heart attacks and strokes associated with Covid-19.

Their unpublished work suggests that, in 2020, complications after Covid-19 caused an additional 12,000 strokes and 44,000 heart attacks in the United States, numbers that rose to 18,000 strokes and 66,000 heart attacks in the United States. 2021.

The scientists also suggest other factors that seem to have contributed, such as the lack of medical consultations, stress and a sedentary lifestyle derived from confinement.

Other researchers have other data

However, these figures differ from what some researchers have observed in clinical practice.

In a small study of 52 people from the University of Leicester in the UK, it was found that people who had recovered after being hospitalized with Covid-19 did not have a higher rate of heart disease than a group of people who had underlying conditions. similar but not contagious.

That same team of British researchers is working on a larger study with 1,200 people. The results have not yet been published, but according to researcher Gerry McCann “the more data we acquire, the less impressed we are with the degree of myocardial injury,” or heart problems.

Despite having an incomplete picture of the cardiovascular effects of Covid-19, doctors recommend caution.

A panel of experts convened by the American College of Cardiology advises doctors to test people who have had Covid-19 for cardiovascular problems if they have risk factors such as being older or immunosuppressed.

Leave a Comment