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COVID Impacts

Detailed information and resources on the long-term health consequences of COVID-19 infection and the broad social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

Cardiovascular Manifestations of COVID-19

While COVID-19 is considered a "respiratory virus", it manifests through the entire body. Cardiovascular complications have been well-documented in acute COVID-19 infection, and recent research is showing that it also causes significant cardiovascular manifestations in the post-acute phase of the disease.

A February 2022 study published in Nature Medicine analyzed medical records from the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs medical system to estimate risks and 1-year burdens on a set of specific cardiovascular outcomes. The researchers found that, "beyond the first 30 days after infection, individuals with COVID-19 are at increased risk of incident cardiovascular disease. These risks and burdens were evident even among individuals who were not hospitalized during the acute phase of the infection and increased in a graded fashion according to the care setting during the acute phase (non-hospitalized, hospitalized and admitted to intensive care)."

The Cardiovascular COVID Registry published in December 2022 in PLOS One a large international retrospective cohort study of nearly 4,500 patients. Data were obtained from electronic records, and clinical follow-up was performed at 1-year. The primary outcome was CV death at 1-year. Secondary outcomes included arterial thrombotic events (ATE), venous thromboembolism (VTE), and serious cardiac arrhythmias. The team found that "at 1-year, patients with COVID-19 experienced an increased risk of all-cause death and adverse CV events, including ATE, VTE, and serious cardiac arrhythmias, but not CV death."


A cardiac dysrhythmia (also called arrhythmia) is an abnormal or irregular heartbeat. An abnormal heart rate means that your heart rate is either too fast (typically over 100 beats per minute) or too slow (typically below 60 beats per minute). On the other hand, an irregular heartbeat means that your heart’s rhythm is disrupted in some way. For instance, the electrical signal that controls your heartbeat might be interrupted due to scar tissue in the heart. Or, the electrical signal might start too soon and give you the feeling of your heart skipping a beat. In that case, you’ll notice a stronger heartbeat right after the brief pause.

Dysrhythmias Associated with COVID-19 Infection
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Atrial Flutter
  • Sinus Tachychardia
  • Sinus Bradycardia
  • Ventricular Arrhythmias

Inflammatory Heart Diseases

Heart inflammation happens after you have an injury or infection in your heart. This rare condition can be mild, serious or in between the two extremes. Mild cases don’t need treatment, and medication helps with all three types of heart inflammation. Recovery can take many weeks. If you have a bad case, you may need procedures or a medical device.

Types of heart inflammation
  • Endocarditis affects the lining in the heart chambers your blood goes through and the valves that control blood flow from one chamber to another.
  • Myocarditis affects the muscle that makes your heart pump.
  • Pericarditis affects the sac around the outside of your heart.
Inflammatory Heart Diseases Associated with COVID-19 Infection
  • Pericarditis
  • Myocarditis

Ischemic Heart Diseases

Ischemia is defined as inadequate blood supply (circulation) to a local area due to blockage of the blood vessels supplying the area. Ischemic means that an organ (e.g., the heart) is not getting enough blood and oxygen. Ischemic heart disease, also called coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease, is the term given to heart problems caused by narrowed heart (coronary) arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.

Ischemic Heart Diseases Associated with COVID-19 Infection
  • Acute Coronary Disease
  • Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
  • Ischemic Cardiomyopathy
  • Angina

Vascular Diseases

Vascular disease includes any condition that affects your circulatory system, or system of blood vessels. This ranges from diseases of your arteries, veins and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation.

Common vascular problems happen because plaque (made of fat and cholesterol) slows down or blocks blood flow inside your arteries or veins. Lifestyle changes often help, but some people need medication or surgery.

Vascular Diseases Associated with COVID-19 Infection
  • Stroke
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Thrombic Disorders

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) inside one of your blood vessels or a chamber of your heart. Clots can block blood flow in your blood vessels or break free and travel elsewhere in your body. If a clot gets stuck in a critical location like your lungs or brain, it can disrupt blood flow to that organ and result in a life-threatening emergency. Symptoms vary based on the clot’s location and can include chest pain, trouble breathing and skin changes.

The two main types of thrombosis are:
  • Arterial thrombosis. This is when a blood clot forms in an artery. Your arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Arterial thrombosis is the most common cause of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Venous thrombosis. This is when a blood clot forms in a vein. Veins carry blood back to your heart from your body. Venous thrombosis is the most common cause of a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in your lung).
Thrombotic Disorders Associated with COVID-19 Infection
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Superficial Vein Thrombosis

Other Cardiac Disorders

Other Cardiac Disorders Associated with COVID-19 Infection
  • Hypertension
  • Heart Failure
  • Non-Ischemic Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Cardiogenic Shock