Are Covid vaccines affecting the heart?

DM Monitoring

New Delhi: While the Covid-19 vaccines are saving lives, some side effects related to heart has been reported. According to a paper published in open-access scientific journal MDPI, until now, more than 670 million people have suffered from COVID-19 worldwide, and roughly 7 million death cases were attributed to COVID-19.
“Recent data suggest that previous COVID-19 may increase the risk for many entities of cardiovascular disease (CVD) to an extent similarly observed for traditional cardiovascular (CV) risk factors,” the researchers wrote.
How Covid vaccines affect heart health
Dr Rakesh Rai Sapra, Director and Senior Consultant-Cardiology, Marengo QRG Hospital, Faridabad said COVID infection can affect heart or blood vessels in the following ways :
1) Covid infection increases the blood clotting tendency which raises the risk of all diseases arising owing to development of blood clots like heart attack, cerebral stroke, deep vein thrombosis or peripheral arterial thrombosis. But this risk is not a life long risk. This risk is there primarily during COVID infection and for some period (1-2 months) after the infection. That is why blood thinners are prescribed during that period to minimize the risk.
2) Weakening of heart muscle owing to inflammation of heart which is known as myocarditis which may lead to features of heart failure.
3) Increased tendencies to abnormal heart rhythms termed arrhythmias. This could be abnormal reduction of heart beat or abnormal type of fast heart beats. This could be a new irregularity or exacerbation of pre pre-existing abnormality.
The association of heart disease, especially myocarditis with COVID vaccine is still being evaluated. There has been some evidence of this association especially in young people after the second dose of vaccine but that risk is overall small as compared to the potential benefits of vaccination, he added.
Heart stroke is no more considered as disease of elderly. We have been witnessing many youngsters landing in heart stroke in 3rd to 5th decade of their life. This trend has increasingly been seen since the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged entire world, said Dr Sharath Reddy Annam.
It has been known that COVID and Covishield (AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19) are associated with increasing clotting tendency leading to occlusion of arteries or veins.
Dr Sharath Reddy Annam is Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Director of Cath Lab, Director of CTO and Complex Coronary interventions, TAVR & Structural Heart interventions, Medicover Hospitals
Reasons for Increase in heart stroke after Covid-19According to Dr Sharath, reasons for Increase in heart stroke after Covid-19 is not completely understood but it is hypothesized due to pleotropic effectsof increased inflammation, thrombosis and also endothelial damage.
“Myocarditis which is inflammation of the heart is a common occurrence in Covid patients as the virus can harm the heart’s muscle tissue and the heart gets inflamed indirectly by the body’s own immune system response,” said Dr. Deepak Shejol, Cardiologist, Zynova Shalby Hospitals
Covishield, was even ‘worse’ in terms of cardiovascular effects
Recently, eminent British-Indian Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said that Oxford-AstraZeneca’s jab, administered in India as Covishield, was even “worse” in terms of cardiovascular effects, heart attacks and strokes.
Dr Malhotra, who has demanded a full safety review into the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, told PTI Covishield “should never have been rolled out in the country in the first place”.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and heart health
“The data I have seen at the moment doesn’t suggest that Covaxin has any significant effects, and (it) seems safe. But of course when other vaccines are getting investigated we also need to look at Covaxin,” said British-Indian Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra.