CDC study finds risk of heart problems after COVID-19 infection, 2nd vaccine dose

TAMPA, Florida (WFLA) – For the millions of Americans who have contracted COVID-19, the healthcare journey is not over. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a new report that the risk of cardiac complications persists after infection and recovery.

The report published on April 1st paints a picture of the ongoing risks and adverse health outcomes that could occur after a patient contracts COVID-19. The report also touches on the potential risk of heart problems after receiving an mRNA vaccine for the coronavirus. The two mRNA vaccines currently available are from Pfizer and Moderna.

According to the report, cardiac complications, “particularly myocarditis and pericarditis,” have been associated with COVID-19 infection and mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. In addition, the CDC’s study 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 that surrounds the heart, while myocarditis is inflammation of the middle layer of the heart’s wall Mayo Clinic.

The study found that the risk of all three heart diseases was increased between one and three weeks after infection or vaccination.

Adolescent males were the patient group at highest risk for developing heart disease, both post-vaccination and post-infection. According to the CDC, male patients aged 12 to 17 had the highest risk of cardiac events “after the second dose” of an mRNA vaccine, but it was even higher after a COVID-19 infection.

“The incidence of cardiac sequelae after mRNA-COVID-19 vaccination was highest in males aged 12 to 17 after the second dose; however, within this demographic group, the risk of cardiac outcomes after SARS-CoV-2 infection was 1.8 to 5.6 times that after the second vaccine dose,” the CDC said. “The risk of cardiac sequelae was also significantly higher after SARS-CoV-2 infection for all other groups by gender and age than after the first, second, or undetermined dose of mRNA-COVID-19 vaccination.”

However, the CDC study is specifically focused on risks of mRNA vaccines, meaning the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not included in the treatment and prevention options that may pose additional risks to patients.

Overall, the CDC noted that the study continues to support the use of COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines continue to be proven “safe and effective,” according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

The data used were drawn from 40 healthcare systems to examine the risk of cardiac complications from COVID-19 and mRNA vaccination for COVID-19 in male and female patients across multiple age groups.

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