Catching Covid can trigger killer new side effect MONTHS later, scientists discover | The Sun

Catching Covid can trigger killer new side effect MONTHS later, scientists discover | The Sun

April 18, 2023

COVID infections can trigger a killer condition within just months, a new study found.

Patients who suffered a severe bout of the virus were 16 times more likely to suffer ventricular tachycardia — a deadly type of abnormal heart rhythm — in six months.

Swedish researchers tracked rates of the condition and other arrhythmias in more than 31,400 adults.

Dr Marcus Stahlberg of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said that while the overall risk was low, it was “much higher” in those who had severe Covid.

He said: “Covid patients who need mechanical ventilation often have other conditions and adding a heart rhythm disorder may lead to worsened health. 

“These patients should seek medical attention if they develop palpitations or irregular heartbeats after hospital discharge so they can be evaluated for possible arrhythmias.”

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Ventricular tachycardias are a type of arrhythmia — abnormal heart rhythms suffered by 2million Brits — that cause the organ to beat too fast and not pump enough blood around the body.

It usually happens in people who have already had significant problems with their heart, including a heart attack or heart disease.

Symptoms include palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, difficulty breathing and feeling sick.

Bouts of ventricular tachycardia can be deadly, causing the heart to stop in cardiac arrest.

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Previous studies have linked Covid to a range of heart problems, including heart disease, heart attack, heart failure and deep vein thrombosis.

The latest research, presented at the European Heart Rhythm Association congress in Barcelona, looked at how Covid affected levels of ventricular tachycardia.

Scientists tracked rates in 3,023 patients who had severe Covid that were given mechanical ventilation and 28,463 individuals from the general population.

Some 15.4 out of 1,000 in the severe Covid group had suffered ventricular tachycardia, compared to 0.9 per 1,000 in the control group.

Researchers said coronavirus patients who suffered less severe infections could also be at greater risk of the condition.

Dr Stahlverg said: “An increased risk of arrhythmias following Covid has also been reported previously in the bulk of patients not requiring ICU treatment.

“Together with our new data, hospital systems should prepare for an increase in patients requiring management for new onset arrhythmias.”

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