Lancet Study, Health News, ET HealthWorld


London: The risk of heart attack and stroke triples in the first two weeks after COVID-19, according to a study published in The Lancet. The study compared the occurrence of acute myocardial infarction or heart attack and stroke in 86,742 COVID-19 patients with 348,481 control individuals in Sweden from February 1 to September 14, 2020.

“We have found a three times higher risk of acute myocardial infarction and stroke in the first two weeks following COVID-19,” said Osvaldo Fonseca Rodriguez from Umea University in Sweden, and co-first author of the study.

The risk was the same even after the researchers adjusted for known risk factors for acute myocardial infarction and stroke, such as comorbidities, age, gender, and socioeconomic factors.

“The results indicate that acute cardiovascular complications represent an important clinical manifestation of COVID-19,” said Ioannis Katsoularis of Umea University, co-author of the study.

“Our results also show how important it is to vaccinate against COVID-19, especially the elderly who are at increased risk of acute cardiovascular events,” Katsoularis said.

The researchers used two statistical methods in the study: the matched cohort study and the self-monitoring case series.

The self-monitoring case series study is a method that was originally invented to determine the risk of complications after vaccines, they said.

“Both methods suggest that COVID-19 is a risk factor for acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke,” the study authors said.

“This indicates that acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke represent part of the clinical picture of COVID-19, and underscore the need for vaccination against COVID-19,” they said.

In the study, information from the national registers of the Swedish Public Health Agency, Statistics Sweden and the National Board of Health and Welfare was crossed for all reported COVID-19 patients.

A control group of four people matched to each case of COVID-19 by age, sex and country of residence, who had not tested positive for COVID-19.

Using historical data from the National Board of Health and Welfare’s inpatient registry, people with previous myocardial infarction and stroke were identified and excluded from the study.

“It would have been difficult to calculate the risk of COVID-19 contributing to acute myocardial infarction and stroke, if people with a previous event had been included,” said Krister Lindmark, co-author of study.

“This is because the risk of recurrent acute myocardial infarction and stroke is increased after a first acute myocardial infarction or a first stroke,” Lindmark added.


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