COVID and inflammatory changes in coronary arteries

COVID and inflammatory changes in coronary arteries

We have known since the early days of the pandemic that complications caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus infection are a group of dangerous factors in causing cardiovascular events. Today we have further data that explain this association.

COVID and respiratory infections are associated with an increased number of strokes and myocardial infarctions. So it’s not surprising that researchers have been focusing on studying the etiology of the problem for years.

What do studies say about this correlation?

In their latest study, published in the journal Nature Cardiovascular Research, they provide extended evidence of a link between increased – and long-term – risk of cardiovascular complications with COVID-19.

The mechanism in question boils down to the fact that the virus that causes COVID – can directly infect coronary arteries as well, triggering a sustained inflammatory response of atherosclerotic plaques (the accumulation of deposits of cholesterol and other fats in the arterial wall) and increasing the risk of cardiovascular events.

NYU researchers in the study analyzed the arteries of both men and women who died from severe COVID – all of whom had cardiac problems.

“Our study provides evidence of viral residues visualized in the arteries”

– said researcher Chiara Giannarelli, MD, assistant professor at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine to the Medscape website.

We are also seeing a significant inflammatory response. We can now consider ways to control this inflammatory response – she added.

Giannarelli stressed that the information helped “connect a lot of dots” and is particularly important in the context of making doctors and patients aware of the increased cardiovascular risk after SARS-CoV-2 infection and paying extra attention to other risk factors, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The team of researchers used tissue samples from the coronary arteries of patients who died of COVID in the early stages of the pandemic in New York (2020-2021). At the same time, experts stress the importance of prevention and continued vaccination programs in this context.


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