Over the past couple of years, several of us have seen in our personal lives seemingly healthy people drop dead from a massive cardiac arrest. Now research- in India and beyond – is showing that these deaths are in all likelihood related to the aftereffects of Covid-19: “….a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) involved the telephonic follow-up of 14,419 patients admitted for serious Covid-19 across 31 hospitals. Overall, 6.5% of those patients died within a year of discharge.

Some of the victims of Covid-19 were aged 18-45. Among them too, a history of moderate to severe Covid-19 disease and comorbidities were associated with post-discharge mortality….

studies corroborate this finding. This study of nearly 160,000 people in the UK published in Cardiovascular Research in January 2023 showed that Covid-infected persons were up to 81 times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than uninfected persons in the first three weeks of infection, and five times more likely to die up to 18 months later. This study published in Frontiers in Medicine in December 2021, based on data from 13,638 people in the USA, showed that people younger than 65 hospitalised with Covid had a 233% higher risk of dying in the 12 months after the disease than uninfected persons.”

Interestingly, whilst some of the studies suggest that being vaccinated reduces the risk of death in the two years post being infected by Covid-19, other studies suggest that the vaccine does not have any impact on long term mortality risks [which are escalated for Covid-19 patients].

So, why is Covid-19 increasing long term mortality risk? This appears to be a grey area: “Post-Covid conditions may be divided into early post-Covid and late post-Covid complications, said Ajeet Jain, cardio thoracic and vascular surgeon at Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi….The late post-Covid symptoms have mainly been thrombotic, according to Jain.

Thrombus happens when blood clots block blood vessels. “People have developed thrombus, large enough to cause pulmonary embolism, cerebrovascular incidents or myocardial infarction, sometimes severe enough to be fatal,” said Jain.

What stood out in this development was that after Covid-19, even younger people, say, in their forties, developed coronary artery disease, and many of those patients were seen to have clean vessels or had developed the disease in only a part of their vessels, explained Jain. “Usually, myocardial infarction develops with age, say after 60, in people with risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, smoking, a family history, dyslipidemia (the elevated level of cholesterol in the blood), stress and high cholesterol, and often involves all the three vessels of the heart, which looked diseased.”…

While we know that most of the people who developed long Covid had comorbidities, we do not exactly know why this happens, concluded Jain.”

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