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With social media flooded with questions pertaining to whether boosters of the COVID-19 vaccine can lead to heart problems or heart attacks, health experts denied of any links presence between the two.

"This is a very thorny question because we do see heart attacks happening not just attacks, sometimes fluid around the heart, sometimes Arrhythmias of the heart after vaccination. But it is tough to confirm this because these were happening in the past also and because nearly everybody is getting vaccinated. A certain vaccine that is not available in India has found a definite link to heart dysfunction," Amrita Hospital's Cardiology Professor & HOD Dr Vivek Chaturvedi said on 28 September.

Though Dr Vivek said that COVID-19 could affect the heart in many ways.

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"COVID-19 can affect the heart in many ways. The commonest problem which has been found is that the people who have had heart disease in the past, their heart disease can get flared and aggravated. They can have heart attacks and heart failure and also Arrhythmia. Secondly, people who have not had heart disease but have diabetes, and blood pressure can have a heart attack, and many such cases have come which is precipitated by COVID-19. Thirdly, even if no heart attack is precipitated, when COVID is severe, it is known to cause heart dysfunctions, heart blocks, and different types of rapid heart rate called Arrhythmias," he said, adding, "Deaths due to heart problems had gone up certainly during and after COVID-19."

"Yes, this has been a big controversy because a lot of death was occurring at home during COVID-19 when it was at its peak because people were afraid to go out but, data that has been carefully analyzed from certain countries has shown that COVID definitely had increased the risk for heart attacks," he added.

Another doctor opined the road to recovery or rehabilitation post COVID19 infection is quite individualistic. Fortis's Director Dr. Vinayak Agrawal explained, "Someone, who required hospitalization or ICU care during COVID-19 with significant lung or heart or multisystem involvement, there would obviously be a need for prolonged and supervised gradual recovery or rehab inputs."

"Since heart involvement may be seen in these mild or asymptomatic cases also, hence if you experience significant fatigue/ weakness, out of proportion breathlessness at rest or walking, chest discomfort on walking or dizziness, then a specialist consult should be sought and further investigations including blood tests like troponin levels, NT proBNP (biomarkers), ECG, 24-hour ECG (Holter), Echocardiogram or cardiac MRI may be done," he said further.

He also said, "Go slow, and do not resume moderate to strenuous exercises or gym initially for 4 to 6 weeks post Covid 19 diagnosis. Patients returning to high-level sports or physically demanding occupations following confirmed heart involvement require a three to six months or longer period of complete rest. If you continue to experience symptoms after a few weeks, consult your doctor to rule out long covid syndrome."

With ANI inputs.

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