Original articles / Online first

Cardiac status and atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk of convalescents after COVID-19 in Poland

Danuta Loboda, Beata Sarecka-Hujar, Jacek Wilczek, Michal Gibinski, Wioleta Zielinska-Danch, Izabela Szoltysek-Boldys, Elzbieta Paradowska-Nowakowska, Marta Nowacka-Chmielewska, Mateusz Grabowski, Mateusz Lejawa, Andrzej Malecki, Krzysztof S. Golba
Published online: February 28, 2023


Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic carried cardiac complications and unfavorable lifestyle changes that may increase cardiovascular risk.

Objectives: The study objectives entailed establishing the cardiac status of convalescents several months after COVID-19, and the 10-year risk of fatal and non-fatal atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events, according to Systemic Coronary Risk Estimation-2 (SCORE2) and SCORE2Older Persons algorithm.

Patients and methods: The study included 553 convalescents aged 63.50 (SD 10.26), 316 (57.1%) women, hospitalized at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department, Ustroń Health Resort, Poland. The history of cardiac complications, exercise capacity, blood pressure control, echocardiography, 24-hour electrocardiogram Holter recording, and laboratory tests were assessed.

Results: 20.7% of men and 17.7% of women (p=0.38) had cardiac complications during acute COVID-19, most often heart failure (10.7%), pulmonary embolism (3.7%), and supraventricular arrhythmias (6.3%). On average, four months after diagnosis, echocardiographic abnormalities were found in 16.7% of men and 9.7% of women (p=0.10), and benign arrhythmias in 45.3% and 44.0% (p=0.84). Preexisting ASCVD was reported in 21.8% of men and 6.1% of women (p<0.001). The median risk in SCORE2/SCORE2–Older Persons in apparently healthy people was high for participants aged 40–49 (3.0%, interquartile range 2.0–4.0) and 50–69 (8.0%, 5.3–10.0), and very high (20.0%, 15.5–37.0) for participants aged ≥70. SCORE2 rating in men aged <70 was higher than in women (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Data collected in convalescents indicates a relatively small number of cardiac problems that could be associated with a history of COVID-19 in both sexes, whereas the high risk of ASCVD, especially in men.

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