Unlike many other viral infections that come and go in a few weeks, COVID has been leaving long-lasting symptoms on a vast number of infected patients. There have been over 200 long-term side effects that have been recorded, along with several post-COVID complications that have debilitated lives all around the world. Now, researchers in Sweden have disclosed yet another concerning clinical manifestation of COVID.
Increased risk of having a heart attack
In their study published in The Lancet, they revealed that the risk of having an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke is three times higher in the first two weeks of having a COVID infection. They looked at data from more that 86,000 patients and said the risk remained the same across all age groups, even after considering other factors such as age, socio-economic backgrounds, and gender. Osvaldo Fonseca Rodriguez, from Umea University in Sweden, the co-first author of the study said:
We found a three-fold increased risk of acute myocardial infarction and stroke in the first two weeks following COVID-19.
The authors of the study wrote:
The evidence indicates that acute cardiovascular complications might represent an essential clinical manifestation of COVID-19 and the long-term effects might be a challenge for the future.
These findings could change clinical practice and warrant a prioritisation of preventive and diagnostic strategies, which can affect treatment and, therefore, reduce the burden of morbidity and mortality in this patient group.
Importance of getting vaccinated
Given these alarming findings, the researchers have stressed the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID. Ioannis Katsoularis, consultant physician in cardiology at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine and co-author of study said:
Our results also show how important it is to vaccinate against COVID-19, in particular the elderly who are at increased risk of acute cardiovascular events
This study is one of the biggest so far that has linked COVID infection to strokes.