Long COVID was investigated by researchers from Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City. The participants were asked to identify almost 150,000 people's cardiovascular symptoms in order to assess the effects of the disease.
Even patients with mild COVID-19 infections may have health difficulties for months or years following their infection. Nearly 19% of Americans who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 reported having "Long COVID," where they experienced symptoms for four weeks or more following the initial infection.
Researchers from Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City examined nearly 150,000 people for cardiovascular problems in an effort to quantify what Long COVID means now and might mean in the future for these patients.
Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 had greater chest pain in the six months to a year after the infection, according to the researchers.
Even mild COVID-19 infections may be able to have health problems for months or years after they were diagnosed. Researchers from Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City examined over 150,000 individuals for cardiovascular symptoms in an effort to quantify what Long COVID means now and might mean in the future for them.
Heidi T. May, PhD, PhD, is the principal investigator of the study who found chest pains to be a sign of future cardiovascular problems.
The findings of the Intermountain study will be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 2023 Scientific Conference in New Orleans.
Researchers compared three intermountain health patients in a massive retrospective study:
- 148,158 people ages 18 and up who tested positive for COVID and treated in an outpatient setting from March 2020 to December 31, 2021.
- 148,158 Intermountain COVID negative patients of about the same age and gender, seen in the same months, as those who tested positive for COVID-19.
- 148,158 patients seen between January 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019, as a historical control, to account for how patients accessed healthcare different during the worst of the pandemic.
Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 at six months and one-year intervals displayed significantly greater chest pain rates, but no other increases in cardiovascular events, according to the Intermountain research team.
"The symptoms aren't necessary right now, but that's something that will need to be reassessed over the years," Dr. May said. "In the short term, it may be that the long-term effects of infection on the cardiovascular system are difficult to quantify due to diagnoses or other events, or that they won't be realized until longer follow-up."
The 72nd Annual Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation's World Congress of Cardiology are jointly hosted by the American College of Cardiology.