Higher risk of heart attack after corona infection, even with light classes

A woman measures her own blood pressure and heart rate.
Getty Images/Ake Ngiamsanguan

According to a “Spiegel” report, new studies have shown that the risk of having a heart attack after a corona infection could last for a year or possibly longer.

Even healthy people with no history of disease can be affected. The increased risk of heart attack also applies to people who have taken light courses.

Early unpublished studies indicate that vaccinations reduce the risk, but do not eliminate it completely.

Medical circles have long known that viral illnesses such as a flu infection can temporarily lead to heart problems. According to studies, Covid-19 not only attacks the lungs, but also the heart. According to a “Spiegel” report, worrying conclusions can be drawn from new studies: According to this, the risk of having a heart attack after a corona infection should last for a year or possibly longer. Even healthy people with no history of disease could be affected.

For example, doctors in Singapore recently published a disturbing series of cases in the journal Annals. They were three relatively young heart attack victims who did not smoke and did not suffer from hypertension or diabetes. But: the three men had gone through a Covid infection without symptoms in the spring of 2020, according to the antibody test. “Our case series suggest that life-threatening myocardial infarction can occur unexpectedly in otherwise healthy patients after asymptomatic Covid-19 infection,” the experts wrote.

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Several studies confirm that the risk of various heart and vascular diseases such as heart attack, heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest, cardiac arrhythmia and damage to heart muscle tissue is significantly increased in the year following a corona infection. A study published in February in the journal Nature Medicine found that there were an average of 45 additional cases of cardiovascular disease for every 1,000 infected people in the year following infection. Half of them are serious complications such as heart attacks.

A light course does not supposedly protect against heart disease

A research team from Ohio and Oregon, who took a closer look at 1,355 recovered people, also found it made no difference whether the infection was severe or mild – the risk applies to everyone those who have had the infection. Cardiac risk does not depend on the severity of the disease. According to the authors of the “Nature Medicine” study, Covid-19 also affects many more organs than the flu. Active research is ongoing into the severity of the effects of an infection on the heart. It’s possible “that persistent virus in the body or viral remnants could cause chronic inflammation,” which in turn could damage the inner vessel walls, said Ziyad Al-Aly, director of research at VA Saint Louis. Health Care System and lead author of the study. But heart muscle cell death, bleeding disorders and autoimmune processes could also have an impact.

However, the base of the studies was almost exclusively unvaccinated people. It is currently unclear whether vaccinations reduce the risk of heart attack due to a lack of data. But there are early indications that vaccinations also have a protective effect here. “We have studies that have not yet been officially published,” says Al-Aly. “These studies indicate that vaccination reduces the risk, but cannot completely limit it.”

How the currently circulating, much milder omicron mutation affects the heart needs further research. But since, according to studies, a moderate evolution does not seem to protect against heart disease, the researchers urge more caution. The long-term consequences of a Covid-19 infection should be taken more seriously in politics than has been the case so far.

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