• Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

Risk Of Heart Attack After Covid Is 4-5% Higher Than That After Vaccination: Soumya Swaminathan

BySymbels Journal

Mar 1, 2023

Covid-19 has devastating effects on the respiratory system of humans, and increases the risk of heart attack, diabetes and stroke. Former chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO) Soumya Swaminathan said on February 28 that the risk of having a heart attack after Covid-19 infection is four to five per cent higher than that after Covid-19 vaccination, news agency ANI reported. 

Swaminathan said Covid-19 infection is itself a crucial risk factor for subsequent heart attacks. 

She also warned that there is a small risk that SARS-CoV-2, the causative organism of Covid-19, will mutate in a way such that it can overcome the immunity induced by Covid-19 vaccination.

Therefore, continued surveillance is important, Swaminathan said. 

Link between Covid-19 and heart attacks

Covid-19 can affect any system in the body, primarily the lungs, and then, the heart, Dr Bikram Kesharee Mohanty, a visiting consultant at National Heart Institute, New Delhi, told ABP Live.

He said that as long as the involvement of the heart is concerned, it could be because of reasons including lack of oxygen, stress cardiomyopathy, and immune reaction triggered by Covid-19 infection, among others. Stress cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscles caused by the release of stress enzymes inside the body.

Since the lungs are involved, they cause the heart to work more vigorously to meet the oxygen demand of the body, Dr Mohanty explained. 

“The viral infection can affect the heart as a whole (heart muscles) by causing inflammation and, thereby, cause damage to the organ, which is known as myocarditis,” he said.

Cytokine storm and immune reactions are triggered by Covid-19 infection. Cytokines are released by the immune system in response to Covid-19 infection, which can damage the body tissue and heart muscles.

Dr Mohanty explained that death from heart attacks decreased from 2020 to 2021 because people came to know that Covid-19 was an additional risk factor for the heart, and patients with heart ailments were at greater risk, as a result of which an awareness was created about the importance of heart health. 

“There is no direct relation between the Covid-19 vaccine and fewer heart attacks. However, after Covid-19 vaccination, the consequences of heart involvement decreased because of the role of the vaccine in lessening the severity of infection as a whole in every system of the body,” he said.

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