Long-term cardiovascular health status and physical functioning of nonhospitalized patients with COVID-19 compared with non-COVID-19 controls

Koen M. van der Sluijs, Esmée A. Bakker, Tim J. Schuijt, Jayaraj Joseph, Maryam Kavousi, Geert Jan Geersing, Frans H. Rutten, Yvonne A.W. Hartman, Dick H.J. Thijssen, Thijs M.H. Eijsvogels*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is reported to have long-term effects on cardiovascular health and physical functioning, even in the nonhospitalized population. The physiological mechanisms underlying these long-term consequences are however less well described. We compared cardiovascular risk factors, arterial stiffness, and physical functioning in nonhospitalized patients with COVID-19, at a median of 6 mo postinfection, versus age- and sex-matched controls. Cardiovascular risk was assessed using blood pressure and biomarker concentrations (amino-terminal pro-B-type-natriuretic-peptide, high-sensitive cardiac troponin I, C-reactive protein), and arterial stiffness was assessed using carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. Physical functioning was evaluated using accelerometry, handgrip strength, gait speed and questionnaires on fatigue, perceived general health status, and health-related quality of life (hrQoL). We included 101 former patients with COVID-19 (aged 59 [interquartile range, 55-65] yr, 58% male) and 101 controls. At 175 [126-235] days postinfection, 32% of the COVID-19 group reported residual symptoms, notably fatigue, and 7% required post-COVID-19 care. We found no differences in blood pressure, biomarker concentrations, or arterial stiffness between both groups. Former patients with COVID-19 showed a higher handgrip strength (43 [33- 52] vs. 38 [30-48] kg, P = 0.004) and less sleeping time (8.8 [7.7-9.4] vs. 9.8 [8.9-10.3] h/day, P < 0.001) and reported fatigue more often than controls. Accelerometry-based habitual physical activity levels, gait speed, perception of general health status, and hrQoL were not different between groups. In conclusion, one in three nonhospitalized patients with COVID-19 reports residual symptoms at a median of 6 mo postinfection, but we were unable to relate these symptoms to increases in cardiovascular risk factors, arterial stiffness, or physical dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H47-H56
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume324
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by Dutch Heart Foundation Grant 2020T063.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 the American Physiological Society.

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