Covid-19: 18 possible complications (2023)

Covid-19: 18 possible complications (1)

Covid-19: 18 possible complications (2)

published byPauline Capmas-Delarue, on 03/30/2020 at 12:19

Updated bySophie Raffin, periodist, on April 11, 2021 at 2:43 p.m.

People who have contracted Covid-19, including those who have developed a mild form of the infection, have aincreased risk of deathsix months after diagnosisA studyby researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint-Louis, USA, published in the journalNature.

Contrary to what was assumed at the beginning of the pandemic,complicationswith reference toCoronavirusTherefore, they are not reserved for severe cases. However, the same study states that the more severe the case of Covid-19, the greater the risk of long-term health problems.

Furthermore, mosttodthat can be attributed to the coronavirus are actually the result of the complications it causes, and not of the virus itself: bacterial superinfection, pneumonia, liver damage, heart problems... We list them hereslideshow.

Covid-19 carries the risk of heart failure

Among the most recently observed complications areheart damageare currently raising many questions. Because if the impactbreathingof Covid-19 (pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, etc.), its effects on the heart are less well known.

However, cardiovascular problems have been observed in coronavirus patients, some of which did not manifest underlying heart disease. This shows another US study published in the journalJAMA Kardiologie.

This risk is also possible without a history of cardiovascular disease.

“This is likely to be the case even without prior heart disease.Herzmuskelmay be affected by a diseaseCoronavirus” emphasizes Pr. Mohammad Madjid of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center and lead author of the study. However, he specifies that "the risk is greater in patients whoI already have heart disease“.

research onprevious outbreaksof coronaviruses and influenza suggest that viral infections cause acute coronary syndromes, arrhythmias, and the development or worsening of aheart failuresay the study authors.

However, the risk is higher with comorbidity.

The authors of the study specify that Covid-19 "is associatedinflammatory loadwhich can cause vascular inflammation, myocarditis and cardiac arrhythmia".

Until a treatment is developed, they recommend controlling any risk factors that increase risk.todafter SARS-CoV-2 infection. Namely: themasculine,advanced ageand the presence ofcomorbidities, especially thehypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

inner ear infections


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (3)

A study published in the journal Nature Communications Medicine in October 2021 shows that ear infections may be a complication of COVID-19.

Researchers who followed 10 COVID-19 patients with auditory symptoms such as hearing loss, vestibular dysfunction, and tinnitus confirmed that the coronavirus can reach the ears. According to this, the virus could enter the brain space and infect the cranial nerves, including the one connected to the inner ear. The coronavirus can also attack hair cells and Schwann cells in the inner ear.

"Our results suggest that inner ear infection may be an important cause of hearing and balance problems associated with COVID-19," they wrote.

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Ateminsuffizienz aguda


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (4)

In acute respiratory failure, the lungs cannot pump enough oxygen into the blood and/or remove enough carbon dioxide. Lack of oxygen and CO2 overload can affect other vital organs (heart, brain) and lead to death.

A small study of 68 Chinese who died from COVID-19 found acute respiratory failure to be the leading cause of death.

acute respiratory distress syndrome

"Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a type of respiratory failure that results from many different abnormalities," states the Merck Manual. These are "responsible for the accumulation of fluid in the lungs and excessive depletion of oxygen in the blood." This is a medical emergency. Affected individuals may require mechanical assistance for breathing.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in China, one of the most common complications was acute respiratory distress syndrome.

a pneumonia


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (5)

The first sign of the new coronavirus outbreak was an increase in pneumonia. This acute respiratory infection leads to inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs. Normally, when you breathe, they fill with air. In pneumonia, they fill with pus and fluid, which reduces oxygen uptake and causes pain.

Scientists examining X-rays of the lungs of Covid-19 patients found that their organs were filled with fluid, pus and cellular debris.

acute liver damage


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (6)

It is the patients most affected by Covid-19 who are most at risk of developing liver damage. Researchers do not yet know if it is the virus that is damaging the liver or if the damage is caused by something else. Acute liver damage and liver failure are life-threatening complications.

Watch the rest of the slideshow

acute heart damage


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (7)

Studies in China found that some patients developed heart problems, including arrhythmias. US researchers made the same observation about people interned in Washington state.

But they still do not know if it is the virus itself that affects the hearts of patients or if the damage was caused by other factors, also because the disease would have exerted significant pressure on the entire organization of the body.

A recent American study published in the journal Nature, involving 87,000 covid-19 patients and 5 million case controls, shows that former patients are at increased risk of developing the disease within six months of infection. Heart failure, palpitations and arrhythmia.

bacterial superinfection


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (8)

A superinfection is a second infection added to the first without being directly related to it. Thus, a person infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus can develop another concomitant disease, mainly because their immune system is weakened.

Often a bacterium is involved (strep, staph, etc.). An analysis of several studies showed that superinfection in patients with Covid-19 is possible but rare. In addition, bacterial superinfection is also possible with the flu, cold, or other illnesses.

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acute kidney damage


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (9)

"Acute kidney injury is a rapid deterioration (over days to weeks) of the kidneys' ability to filter metabolic wastes from the blood," states the MSD Manual. Kidney failure can lead to heart failure and high levels of potassium in the blood.

Kidney damage does not appear to be a common complication of Covid-19, but when it does occur, it is a medical emergency. Dialysis may be necessary until the patient's kidneys return to normal function. Kidney failure can also lead to chronic kidney disease, which requires long-term treatment.

a septic shock


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (10)

Sepsis is a generalized inflammatory response associated with severe infection. If not treated in time, it can lead to septic shock, a multi-organ failure that is usually fatal.

Septic shock has been observed in some people with COVID-19 in China.

disseminated intravascular coagulopathy


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (11)

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a blood coagulation disorder that causes excessive thrombin and fibrin formation in the circulation. ofabnormal clotsaccumulate in the blood vessels, which can cause internal bleeding or organ failure.

A Chinese study showed that DIC was common in patients who died from Covid-19.

According to the American study, carried out by the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint-Louis and published in the journal Nature, it is confirmed that the appearance of blood clots in the legs and lungs in former Covid-19 patients can last up to six months possible after infection.



Covid-19: 18 possible complications (12)

Rhabdomyolysis is defined as the destruction of striated muscle. Muscles break down and their tissues die. If the kidneys cannot clean the blood quickly, they can overload them and cause the patient's death.

It is an extremely rare disease, but it is being monitored by researchers specialized in Covid-19.

labored breathing


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Covid-19: 18 possible complications (13)

Persistent cough, shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels can affect former Covid-19 patients for at least six months.

Diseases of the nervous system (anosmia, memory loss, stroke, etc.)


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (14)

Nervous system disorders can continue to affect former covid-19 patients for at least six months after diagnosis. Including headaches, memory problems, loss of taste and smell... Even a stroke.

mental health problems


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (15)

Among the possible disorders observed in former Covid-19 patients after six months, we can list anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and substance abuse.

diabetes and cholesterol


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (16)

Former Covid-19 patients are at increased risk of developing metabolic diseases such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity.

Gastrointestinal disorders


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (17)

Former patients with Covid-19 may develop disorders of the gastrointestinal system: constipation, diarrhea and heartburn.

dermatological problems


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (18)

Rashes and hair loss can be seen in people with Covid-19 for up to six months after infection.

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Musculoskeletal system disorder


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (19)

Joint pain and muscle weakness can be seen in people with Covid-19 for up to six months after infection.

malaise or anemia


Covid-19: 18 possible complications (20)

People with Covid-19 may experience persistent fatigue, malaise, or anemia for up to six months after infection.

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To know everything about the coronavirus, Fondation du souffle, March 3, 2020.

Potential Effects of Coronavirus on the Cardiovascular System, JAMA Cardiology, March 27, 2020.

Pneumonia, WHO, August 2, 2019.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), MSD Manual, March 2018.

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), MSD Manual, July 2018.

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC), MSD Manual, July 2018.

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Keywords:Coronavirus,COVID-19,complications,heart failure,Apnea


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