The prevalence of such symptoms has experts projecting a ‘tidal wave’ of cardiovascular cases related directly and indirectly to the coronavirus
Since getting covid last December, Zaza Soriano, 32, a senior software engineer in Millersville, Md., struggles with high blood pressure. (Shuran Huang/For The Washington Post)
Five months after being infected with the coronavirus, Nicole Murphy’s pulse rate is going berserk. Normally in the 70s, which is ideal, it has been jumping to 160, 170 and sometimes 210 beats per minute even when she is at rest — putting her at risk of a heart attack, heart failure or stroke.
No one seems to be able to pinpoint why. She’s only 44, never had heart issues, and when a cardiologist near her hometown of Wellsville, Ohio, ran all of the standard tests, “he literally threw up his hands when he saw the results,” she recalled. Her blood pressure was perfect, there were no signs of clogged arteries, and her heart was expanding and contracting well.
Murphy’s boomeranging heart rate is one of a number of mysterious conditions afflicting Americans weeks or months after coronavirus infections that suggest the potential of a looming cardiac crisis.Story continues below advertisement
A pivotal study that looked at health records of more than 153,000 U.S. veterans published this month in Nature Medicine found that their risk of cardiovascular disease of all types increased substantially in the year following infection, even when they had mild cases.The population studied was mostly White and male, but the patterns held even when the researchers analyzed women and people of color separately. When experts factor in the heart damageprobably suffered by people who put off medical care, more sedentary lifestyles andeating changes, not to mention the stress of the pandemic, they estimate there may be millions of new onset cardiac cases related to the virus, plus a worsening of disease for many already affected.
“We are expecting a tidal wave of cardiovascular events in the coming years from direct and indirect causes of covid,” said Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, president of the American Heart Association.