A recent study has found that patients who have had Covid-19 may be at increased risk of suffering from chest pain in the six months to a year after the initial infection. The study, which examined nearly 150,000 Covid-19 patients for cardiovascular symptoms, did not report any significant rates of major events such as heart attack or stroke, but found chest pains to be a persistent problem. The study’s principal investigator, Heidi T. May, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at Intermountain Health in the US, has warned that the lasting effects of the infection on the cardiovascular system are hard to quantify in the short-term and may not be realised until longer follow-up.
While the symptoms of chest pain are not necessarily translating into hard outcomes, the study suggests a future risk of heart disease. Although chest pains may be a sign of future cardiovascular complications, the study did not find any other increases in cardiovascular events at six-month and one-year intervals.
The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 2023 Scientific Conference in New Orleans. The team compared three groups of patients, including those who tested positive for Covid-19, Covid-negative patients, and patients seen between January 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019, as a historical control.
In addition, an updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that Covid-19 can have lasting effects on nearly every organ and organ system of the body weeks, months, and potentially years after infection. According to the updated Vital Statistics Reporting Guidance, serious post-Covid conditions include cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, renal, endocrine, haematological, and gastrointestinal complications, as well as death.
For decedents who had a previous SARSCoV-2 infection and were diagnosed with a post-Covid condition, the certifier may consider the possibility that the death was due to long-term complications of Covid-19, even if the original infection occurred months or years before death. It is therefore essential that patients who have had Covid-19 seek follow-up medical care to monitor and address any potential long-term complications of the disease.