A study released yesterday by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, compared over 150,000 veterans who survived at least 30 days after contracting COVID-19 with two massive control groups, each with more than 5 million uninfected people. One control group was comprised of patients who used the VA medical system during the pandemic while the second control group used the VA medical system in 2017 – prior to COVID-19.

During the year after infection, the study group (who had contracted COVID-19) was 52% more likely to have had a stroke than the control group of patients currently in the VA medical system. The risk of heart failure increased by 72%. Even those who had avoided hospitalization were at higher risk for many of the conditions, although hospitalization did pose a greater risk factor in general.

The researchers studied only a veteran population and some of the contemporary control group could have had mild, undiagnosed infections, so the conclusions are somewhat limited, but researchers urge cardiologists and other healthcare providers to be watchful for a significant rise in cardiovascular conditions.

Since researchers have already theorized that COVID-19 is an endothelial disease, these findings are not surprising, and the release of the information can assist healthcare systems around the world incorporate additional screening and treatments for at-risk patients.

Next: Part II: I Had COVID-19 – How can I limit my risk of related cardiovascular disease?

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