80% of COVID-19 survivors have high blood pressure and rapid heart rate for a long time

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80% of COVID-19 survivors have high blood pressure and rapid pulse long after infection, observation by Pleven cardiologists has found. There are also residual symptoms such as easy fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations and chest pain, according to their analysis of the Bulgarian Cardiology Institute’s “Life after COVID-19” campaign, the largest in the country aimed at patients with so-called long COVID-19. The authors of the studies are medics from the high-tech hospital ‘Heart and Brain’ in Pleven, the hospital told Bulgarian News Agency.

The results were presented to the XVII National Congress of Cardiology 2022 by the team of the Clinic of Cardiology of the hospital in Pleven. Five doctors from the team of prof. Dr. Denis Nikolov, Dr. Borislava Ninova, Dr. Denislava Hristova, Dr. Martina Samardzhieva and Dr. Anyuta Ivanova. Three of the presented topics were focused on patients who had undergone COVID-19.

Dr. Denis Nikolov presented a statistical analysis of patients with COVID-19 and myocardial infarction who have undergone ‘Heart and Brain’ in Pleven and how, based on clinical and laboratory data, the medical team can quickly navigate and make the correct diagnosis and prescribe treatment for the patient.

Dr. Borislava Ninova has collected data on patients who have undergoneCOVID-19, diagnosed with pulmonary thromboembolism, who were assumed to have no other provoking factor. The findings are that COVID-19 appears to be a significant provoking factor for this socially significant disease, which ranks fourth after heart attack, stroke and tumour disease, according to the analysis.

Dr Denislava Hristova has seen patients with so-called long COVID-19. It turned out that 80% of the sufferers had residual symptoms. The complaints were so severe that in half of the cases additional blood tests, X-ray, Holter electrocardiogram and cardiac ultrasonography had to be performed. Rhythm disturbances are the most common changes in electrocardiograms. Various organs and systems are affected, resulting in impaired concentration and memory, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, hair loss, etc. This requires further consultations with various specialists and a change in treatment. Due to presenting symptoms and changes in investigations, one out of ten COVID-19 survivors require readmission to a treatment facility.

Dr. Martina Samardzhieva has presented to the scientific community the only poster with data to determine the likelihood of atrial fibrillation following anti-tumour therapy using modern methods such as stress echocardiography and left atrial strain measurement. This raises the issue of the importance of monitoring cancer patients by a cardiologist before, during and after the administration of antitumor therapy (chemo, immuno, targeted and radiotherapy) and determining the risk of developing cardiotoxicity according to the latest European Society of Cardiology recommendations from 2022.

Dr. Anyuta Ivanova has created a project for early detection of patients with high blood cholesterol levels associated with the genetic disease familial hypercholesterolemia using an artificial intelligence method applied in the hospitals of the Bulgarian Heart Institute. The idea is to identify more and more patients with dyslipidaemia and to start treatment as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in this group.

The Cardiology Clinic of ‘Heart and Brain’ in Pleven specialises in the treatment of acute and chronic cardiovascular diseases in an emergency or elective manner. It is a national leader in the diagnosis and treatment of post-COVID syndrome as well as in the field of cardio-oncology. The hospital has both a cardiology and oncology clinic – the only one in the country where cardio-oncology is actually developed.

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