Long-Term Cardiovascular Effects of COVID-19: Emerging Data Relevant to the Cardiovascular Clinician

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2022 Jul;24(7):563-570. doi: 10.1007/s11883-022-01032-8. Epub 2022 May 4.


Purpose of review: COVID-19 is now a global pandemic and the illness affects multiple organ systems, including the cardiovascular system. Long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 are not yet fully characterized. This review seeks to consolidate available data on long-term cardiovascular complications of COVID-19 infection.

Recent findings: Acute cardiovascular complications of COVID-19 infection include myocarditis, pericarditis, acute coronary syndrome, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, right ventricular dysfunction, and arrhythmia. Long-term follow-up shows increased incidence of arrhythmia, heart failure, acute coronary syndrome, right ventricular dysfunction, myocardial fibrosis, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. There is increased mortality in COVID-19 patients after hospital discharge, and initial myocardial injury is associated with increased mortality. Emerging data demonstrates increased incidence of cardiovascular illness and structural changes in recovered COVID-19 patients. Future research will be important in understanding the clinical significance of these structural abnormalities, and to determine the effect of vaccines on preventing long-term cardiovascular complications.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cardiovascular complications; Long COVID; Post-acute COVID complications.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Heart
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right*