long covid

Long COVID’s Lingering Cardiovascular Impact

This article discusses how hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may improve heart function in long COVID patients. The study included 60 patients who received either HBOT or a placebo treatment. The results showed that the HBOT group had a significant improvement in their heart function, as measured by GLS. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Long COVID and heart function:

Could hyperbaric oxygen therapy help?

A recent study suggests that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may improve heart function in people with long COVID. Long COVID is a condition that can occur after someone has recovered from the initial symptoms of COVID-19. People with long COVID may experience a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart problems.

The study.

The study included 60 patients who were randomly assigned to receive either HBOT or a placebo treatment. The HBOT group received 40 sessions of HBOT over a two-month period. The placebo group received treatment in a chamber that looked and felt like an HBOT chamber, but did not provide any oxygen.

The results of the study showed that the HBOT group had a significant improvement in their heart function, as measured by a test called echocardiography. The placebo group did not show any improvement.

HBOT

The researchers believe that HBOT may improve heart function in people with long COVID by increasing blood flow to the heart and reducing inflammation. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Millions globally grapple with the persistent effects of the symptoms, months after their initial COVID-19 illness. Among the concerns are growing rates of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and increased risk of cardiovascular issues.

Scope of Long COVID:

While precise figures remain unclear, a pre-peer review study suggests up to 43% of those testing positive for COVID-19, and over half hospitalized, develop Long COVID as of August 2021.

Diverse Symptoms:

A July 2021 survey in eClinicalMedicine highlights the multitude of organ systems affected by Long COVID, impacting daily functioning and work capacity. The study also emphasizes the emergence of POTS, a difficult-to-diagnose syndrome, in patients.

POTS and its Complexities:

POTS manifests as a blend of symptoms including lightheadedness, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, blurry vision, heart palpitations, and nausea. These are linked to either low or high blood pressure, but the exact mechanism remains under debate.

Cardiovascular Complications:

Data indicates acute COVID-19 can lead to various cardiovascular concerns like stroke, heart attack, arrhythmias, blood clots, and heart membrane inflammation (pericarditis).

Increased Risk Beyond Acute Phase:

A February 2022 Nature Medicine study suggests a heightened risk of cardiovascular issues even a year after initial COVID-19 infection. The study found an increased risk for various conditions like stroke, arrhythmias, heart disease (both ischemic and non-ischemic), pericarditis, myocarditis, heart failure, and blood clots. Notably, this risk was present regardless of age, race, sex, pre-existing conditions like obesity, and even in individuals with no prior cardiovascular history.

Research: Michael, B.D., Dunai, C., Needham, E.J. et al. Para-infectious brain injury in COVID-19 persists at follow-up despite attenuated cytokine and autoantibody responses. Nat Commun 14, 8487 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-42320-4