"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

COVID-19 infects coronary arteries and causes plaque inflammation

September 28, 2023 – COVID-19 may increase the danger of heart attack and stroke by infecting the arteries of the center and causing inflammation of fatty deposits within the arteries, latest research suggests.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Health and published within the journal Nature Cardiovascular Research.

The information could make clear why some individuals with COVID-19 are at higher risk of developing heart problems or other heart complications in the event that they have already got it, based on the NIH.

“We have known since the early days of the pandemic that people who have had COVID-19 have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke for up to a year after infection,” said Michelle Olive of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a part of the NIH. “We believe we have discovered one of the reasons for this.”

Previous studies showed that SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect brain and lung tissue. But doctors knew less about how the virus attacks the coronary arteries.

“In the study, researchers focused on older people with fatty deposits known as atherosclerotic plaque who died from COVID-19,” the NIH said. “But because researchers found that the virus infects and multiplies in arteries regardless of plaque grade, the findings could have broad implications for anyone who becomes infected with COVID-19.”

Olive said the study was “incredibly important” since it contributes to general knowledge about COVID-19.

“This is just another study that shows how the virus infects many cells and tissues throughout the body and causes inflammation there,” she said. “Ultimately, this is information that will inform future research on acute and long COVID.”