Heart dysfunction, COVID-19 booster vaccines in India have no links, say experts

Health professionals denied any connection between the two when queries about whether COVID-19 booster shots can cause cardiac problems or heart attacks swamped social media.

“This is a really difficult topic to answer because following vaccinations, we do occasionally observe fluid around the heart and cardiac arrhythmias in addition to heart attacks. However, given that these events have occurred in the past as well and that almost everyone is immunised, it is difficult to establish this. There is a specific vaccine that is unavailable in India that has a proven connection to cardiac dysfunction “Dr. Vivek Chaturvedi, Professor of Cardiology and HOD at Amrita Hospital, stated on September 28.

Though Dr Vivek said that COVID-19 could affect the heart in many ways.

“COVID-19 has a variety of heart-related side effects. The most frequent issue that has been discovered is that persons who have had heart disease in the past may experience a flare-up or a worsening of their condition. They are susceptible to arrhythmia, heart attacks, and heart failure. Second, heart attacks can occur in people who have never had heart disease but do have diabetes, high blood pressure, or both. Many of these occurrences have been linked to COVID-19. Thirdly, when COVID is severe, it is known to induce cardiac dysfunctions, heart blockages, and various sorts of rapid heart rate called Arrhythmias, the doctor continued, adding that “Deaths due to heart difficulties have definitely increased during and after COVID-19.”

Yes, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding this issue because many people died at home during COVID-19 when it was at its worst because they were afraid to leave their homes, but data from specific countries that has undergone careful analysis has shown that COVID did, in fact, raise the risk for heart attacks, the expert continued.

The path to recovery or rehabilitation following COVID19 infection, according to another specialist, is quite individualised. “Someone, who required hospitalisation or ICU care during COVID-19 with considerable lung or heart or multisystem involvement, would definitely need for longer and supervised progressive recovery or rehab inputs,” said Dr. Vinayak Agrawal, director of Fortis.

“Since heart involvement may be seen in these mild or asymptomatic cases as well, if you experience significant fatigue/weakness, out-of-proportion breathlessness at rest or walking, chest discomfort on walking, or dizziness, then a specialist consult should be sought, and further investigations may include blood tests like troponin levels, NT proBNP (biomarkers), ECG, 24-hour ECG (Holter), Echocardiogram, or cardiac MRI.

Also from him: “Go slowly, and for the first 4 to 6 weeks following a diagnosis of Covid 19, avoid returning to moderate to vigorous exercise or the gym. Patients with verified heart involvement need to take a three to six-month or longer term of total rest before returning to high-level sports or physically demanding jobs. After a few weeks, if your symptoms persist, see a doctor to rule out long-covid syndrome.”

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