Daniel Thibodeau MHP, PA-C
As we approach the 1-year mark of COVID becoming globally prominent, we are, unfortunately, also getting into the next surge of cases. At some point, this devastating virus will run its course and become less prevalent. Unfortunately, the aftereffects of COVID will last much longer. As practitioners working in all areas of medicine, we must remind ourselves of the potential long-term effects of this virus. More importantly, we must look for them.
Since the outbreak and the subsequent rollercoaster-like phases we have witnessed throughout the country, patients have been presenting with new heart ailment symptoms. Many of these patients do have a prior history of cardiovascular disease, and some may be young and otherwise healthy. Recent observations by cardiology groups worldwide are recognizing some new symptom trends presenting to their offices. We must take note of this, as these patients could present to you. Patients who have had COVID—whether asymptomatic, mild, or severe—are now showing late effects. Illnesses such as a myocardial injury can present as new heart failure, arrhythmias, venous thromboembolism, and more. Arrhythmias can occur and start a cascade of problems resulting from the infection that may have caused myocarditis, ischemia, and electrolyte imbalances. It is imperative to critically evaluate patients who present with a new complaint and consider if they may have had COVID. While we do not yet have all the long-term information on patient impact, keeping COVID in your mind long after it goes will be a necessary obligation to your patients.