Watch for cardiovascular events in COVID-19 survivors: experts

Survivors of COVID-19 should be closely followed after the acute phase of their illness as they will be at high risk of cardiovascular events, respiratory experts warn.

In a letter to the European Respiratory Journal Bartolome Celli, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA and Leonardo M. Fabbri, a Professor of  Respiratory Medicine at the University of Ferrara, Italy, said the risk of cardiovascular events was heightened following an acute COPD exacerbation, particularly if the exacerbation was associated with pneumonia.

They noted that an analysis of data from the SUMMIT trial of over 16,000 patients with moderate COPD found that the risk of a cardiovascular event was almost four-fold (HR 3.8, CI 2.7-5.5) in the first 30 days after an exacerbation. This risk doubled further (HR 9.9, CI 6.6-14.9) if the patient was hospitalised.

Because most of the severe COVID-19 cases were a result of pneumonia associated with respiratory failure, the Professors postulated that it was likely that, similar to patients with exacerbations of COPD, survivors of COVID-19 will be at high risk of cardiovascular events and mortality following the acute phase of the disease.

“We would like to call attention to this vulnerable period, and recommend that patients be closely followed with a management plan that pays special attention to the prompt recognition of cardiovascular complications, especially in the 30 days following the resolution of the acute phase of the event,” they wrote.

“It would be a pity that those survivors of COVID-19 pneumonia, would then succumb from a relatively preventable consequence.”

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