The study, published last week in Nature Medicine, found that the illness increased the possibility of Heart rhythm irregularities and potentially deadly blood clots in the legs and lungs in the year after an acute infection. Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, the lead author of a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, said he and his colleagues expected to see some elevation in Heart problems following Covid but assumed it would be limited largely to people whose health wasn’t robust previously.
He said that the elevated risk remained when researchers accounted for age and race. Cardiovascular disease — an umbrella term that refers to various Heart conditions, thrombosis, and stroke — is the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one out of four Americans dies of Heart disease each year.
According to the CDC, Heart disease comes with a hefty price tag, costing the U.S. about $363 billion each year in healthcare services, medications, and productivity lost to death. The researchers analyzed de-identified medical records in a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the nation’s most extensive integrated healthcare delivery system.
The researchers created a controlled dataset that included health information of 153,760 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 sometime from March 1, 2020, through Jan. 15, 2021. They had survived the first 30 days of the disease. Very few of the people in the study were vaccinated before developing COVID-19, as vaccines were not yet widely available at the time of enrollment.