One in eight people who were hospitalised with Covid-19 between May 2020 and March 2021 were later diagnosed with myocarditis, or heart inflammation, according to major new research into Covid's clinical long-term effects.
The study, published in journal Nature Medicine, suggests that it is the severity of the Covid-19 infection itself which is most closely correlated to the severity of a patient's long Covid symptoms, rather than pre-existing health problems, as speculated so far.
The largest study of its kind to date was led by the University of Glasgow and followed for one year, in real time, 159 patients after they were hospitalised with Covid-19.
The results showed that hospitalisation with Covid was found to cause a number of long-term health problems. Besides heart inflammation, inflammation across the body and damage to the other organs such as the kidneys was also common.
Exercise capacity and health related quality of life were markedly impaired initially after discharge from hospital and remained reduced one to two months after discharge - this was especially the case in patients with heart inflammation.
During a period of 450 days after discharge from hospital, one in seven patients died or were readmitted to hospital, and two in three patients required outpatient care.
Being hospitalised with Covid-19 was also associated with a worse health-related quality of life as well as with anxiety and depression.
"Covid-19 is a multi-system disease, and our study shows that injury on the heart, lungs and kidneys can be seen after initial hospitalisation in scans and blood tests. These results bridge a vital knowledge gap between our current understanding of post-Covid-19 syndromes, such as Long Covid, and objective evidence of ongoing disease," Professor Colin Berry, Professor of Cardiology and Imaging at the University.
A separate study led by experts at NHS Golden Jubilee showed that a Covid infection is linked with impaired function of the right side of the heart, leading to death, BBC reported.
The team assessed the impact the virus had on 121 critically ill patients who required treatment on ventilators in Scotland.
The findings, published in the journal Anaesthesia, showed that nearly one in three patients showed abnormalities in the side of the heart that pumps blood to the lungs, and nearly half (47 per cent) of ventilated patients in the study died because of Covid.
A combination of factors "create the perfect storm for Covid-19 to damage the right side of your heart", which can ultimately cause death," Dr Philip McCall, lead author and consultant in cardiothoracic anaesthesia and intensive care at NHS Golden Jubilee, was quoted as saying.
"If you're pumping blood to the lungs and the lungs become very sick, you have an additional problem because the lungs are not willing to receive blood," he said.