Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been linked to a surge in heart attacks

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A new data analysis by the Smith Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai found that heart attack deaths have increased significantly during pandemic outbreaks, including Omicron’s COVID-19 outbreaks, reversing the overall trend toward a more heart-healthy pandemic.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, heart attacks were the leading cause of death worldwide, but have been steadily declining. However, a new study recently published in Journal of Medical Virology– it shows a heart attack death rates have dramatically increased in all age groups during a pandemic. Spikes in heart attack deaths are accompanied by spikes in COVID-19 infections — even during the presumed less severe phase of the micron pandemic. In addition, the data showed that the increase was most significant among people aged 25-44, who are not usually considered to be at high risk of heart attack.

“A sharp increase in heart attacks during the pandemic reversed what had been a decade of steady improvement cardiac deaths” said Yi Hui Yeo, MD, first author of the study and a physician scientist at Cedars-Sinai. “We are still learning the many ways in which COVID-19 affects the body, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or race belongings. “

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System, Cedars-Sinai researchers found 1,522,699 deaths from heart attacks, medically known as acute myocardial infarctions, between April 1, 2012, and April 31, 2012. March 2022.

The researchers then compared age-specific mortality between the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods, as well as demographic groups and regions.

The main findings of the study include:

  • In the year before the pandemic, there were 143,787 heart attack deaths; this number increased by 14% to 164,096 in the first year of the pandemic.
  • Excess mortality associated with acute myocardial infarction persisted throughout the pandemic, even in the most recent period marked by an outbreak of the presumed less virulent omicron variant.
  • The researchers found that although death from acute myocardial infarction increased in all age groups during the pandemic, the relative increase was most significant for the youngest age group, 25 to 44 years of age.
  • By the second year of the pandemic, “observed” versus “predicted” heart attack death rates had increased by 29.9% for adults aged 25-44, 19.6% for adults aged 45-64, and 13.7 % for adults age 65 and older.

“There are several potential explanations for the rapid increase in cardiac death in patients with COVID-19, but there are still many unanswered questions,” Ye said. persist even in the Omicron Age.’ Yeo said possible explanations include that COVID-19 may trigger or accelerate the onset of pre-existing coronary disease, even in young adults.

Reasons for the surge in heart-related disease may also be linked to psychological and social problems associated with pandemicincluding job loss and other financial pressures that can cause acute or chronic stress leading to heart disease.

Members of the research team say they’ve known for a long time that infections like the flu can increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack, but the sharp rise a heart attack deaths like nothing before.

“There is something very different about how this virus affects cardiac risk,” said Susan Chen, MD, MPH, director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Division of Cardiology at the Smithsonian Heart Institute and senior corresponding author of the study. “The difference is likely due to a combination of stress and inflammation arising from predisposing factors and the way the virus biologically interacts with the cardiovascular system.”

Yeo, Chen, and the broader Smith Heart Institute team hope that increased awareness and more research will expand the medical community’s ability to manage and reduce these risks.


Nationwide study finds significant drop in heart attack treatment during pandemic


Additional information:
Yee Hui Yeo et al., Increased Risk of Mortality from Acute Myocardial Infarction During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Journal of Medical Virology (2022). DOI: 10.1002/jmv.28187

Citation: COVID-19 surges linked to spike in heart attacks (2022, October 24) Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-covid-surges-linked-spike-heart. html

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