160,000 people were part of the study, that got published in Cardiovascular Research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Those infected with Covid-19 are at higher risk of death. According to researchers, the risk continues for at least 18 months after the infection. This is because patients with Covid are more likely to develop several cardiovascular conditions when compared to those who are not infected with the coronavirus. This may have contributed to the higher risk of death in such patients.
The findings clearly suggest that people with Covid-19 infection must be monitored for at least a year even after recovering from the acute illness. This will help diagnose cardiovascular complications of the coronavirus infection, which form part of long Covid,” Ian CK Wong, said Professor at the University of Hong Kong, China, said.
When compared with those who were not infected with COVID-19, the likelihood of Covid patients dying was over 80 times higher in the first three weeks of infection. The chances remained five times higher up to 18 months later.
When compared with two uninfected groups, patients with were tested positive for Covid were approximately four times more likely to develop a major heart-related disease in the acute phase and 40 per cent more likely in the post-acute phase.
The study found that chances of developing major cardiovascular disease or dying were higher in patients with severe Covid-19 conditions than in non-severe cases.
There was a greater likelihood of serious heart-related problems in Covid-19 patients when compared with uninfected participants in both the short- and long-term. This included heart failure, myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, and deep vein thrombosis.
Risks of some cardiovascular conditions were elevated in those infected with coronavirus in the short term but then returned to normal levels. The conditions included stroke and atrial fibrillation.
It is to be noted that the study was conducted during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Professor Wong said future research should evaluate subsequent outbreaks.