New York: Coronavirus infection can likely have a long-term impact on blood vessels and heart health in young and healthy people, even with mild symptoms, according to a study.
The finding showed that increased stiffness of arteries was found in young adults, which may impact heart health, and can also be important for other populations who may have had severe cases of the virus.
This means that young, healthy adults with mild Covid-19 symptoms may increase their risk of cardiovascular complications which may continue for some time after Covid-19 infection, said the researchers from the Appalachian State University in North Carolina, US.
“These findings suggest a potential long-term impact of Covid-19 on young, relatively healthy adults who may otherwise think the virus may not be affecting them,” said Steve Ratchford, from the varsity.
While SARS-CoV-2, the virus known for causing the Covid-19 pandemic, is mainly characterised by respiratory symptoms, other studies have recently shown changes to blood vessel function among young adults 3-4 weeks after being infected with SARS-CoV-2. This has also been observed months after infection in older adults as well.
The team found that the virus may have detrimental effects to arteries throughout the body, including in the carotid artery which supplies the brain with blood.
This draws comparisons between SARS-CoV-2 and other acute bacterial and viral infections which alter arterial stiffness such as rheumatic fever, Kawasaki disease, pneumonia, H. Pylori, and lupus, all of which may persist long after symptoms have resolved.
The team tested 15 young adults 3-4 weeks after being infected with SARS-CoV-2. They used an ultrasound on the carotid artery and took recordings of that image for 10-15 heart beats.
These recordings were analysed on a computer software to find measures of carotid stiffness. For the control group, they used data from young healthy adults who were studied prior to theA Covid-19 pandemic.