TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For the millions of Americans who had had COVID-19, the health care journey isn’t over.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a new report that the risk of cardiac complications persists following infection and recovery.
The report released on April 1 paints the picture of ongoing risks and negative health outcomes that could spring up after a patient has had COVID-19. The report also touches on the potential risk of heart issues after receiving an mRNA vaccine for the coronavirus. The two mRNA vaccines currently available are from Pfizer and Moderna.
The report said cardiac complications, “particularly myocarditis and pericarditis,” have been tied to COVID-19 infection and mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. Additionally, the study by the CDC found cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which the health agency described as “a rare but serious complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection with frequent cardiac involvement.”
Pericarditis is swelling of the thin tissue surrounding the heart while myocarditis is inflammation of the middle layer of the heart wall, according to Mayo Clinic.
The study found that the risk for all three cardiac conditions was increased between one and three weeks after infection or vaccination.
Male youths were the patient group with the highest level of risk for developing cardiac conditions after both vaccination and infection. For male patients 12 to 17 years old, the CDC said the risk for cardiac outcomes was highest “after the second vaccine dose” of an mRNA vaccine but was even higher after a COVID-19 infection.
“The incidence of cardiac outcomes after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination was highest for males aged 12–17 years after the second vaccine dose; however, within this demographic group, the risk for cardiac outcomes was 1.8–5.6 times as high after SARS-CoV-2 infection than after the second vaccine dose,” the CDC said. “The risk for cardiac outcomes was likewise significantly higher after SARS-CoV-2 infection than after first, second, or unspecified dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccination for all other groups by sex and age.”
However, the CDC study specifically focuses on risks from mRNA vaccines, meaning the Johnson & Johnson shot is not included in the treatments and prevention options that may provide additional risks to patients.
Overall, the CDC noted that the study still supports the use of COVID-19 vaccinations. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, vaccines continue to prove “safe and effective.”
The data used was pulled from 40 health care systems to study the risk of cardiac complications from COVID-19 and mRNA vaccinations for COVID-19, among male and female patients across multiple age demographics.