This heart problem strongly increases risk of severe COVID-19 and death

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In a new study from Intermountain Healthcare, researchers found that patients with atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia in adults, are at a much higher risk to experience serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

They found that patients with a history of atrial fibrillation who have COVID-19 illness are not only more likely to need hospitalization, ICU and ventilator support, but nearly 62% more likely to suffer a heart failure hospitalization.

In addition, 40% more likely to die than individuals who don’t have a history of atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation, which affects more than 12 million Americans, is an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm abnormality involving the upper chambers of the heart.

Common symptoms of atrial fibrillation include palpitations, shortness of breath, and weakness. Having atrial fibrillation increases a person’s risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.

In the study, researchers examined 3,119 patients who tested positive for COVID between March 2020 and May 2021, and who also had a prior atrial fibrillation diagnosis.

They found that these patients did clinically worse than patients without a previous atrial fibrillation diagnosis.

Specifically, previously diagnosed atrial fibrillation patients were more likely to require hospitalization, oxygen support, ICU care, and ventilator support.

Additionally, they were 61.5% more likely to suffer a major cardiovascular event and 40% more likely to die because of the COVID-19 illness.

Based on these results, the team said that patients with atrial fibrillation should know that they are in a higher risk category, and must take appropriate precautions against the virus, like getting vaccinated, wearing a mask and social distancing, when appropriate.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the cause of various types of heart disease and findings of this diet could prevent or even reverse heart failure.

For more information about heart disease, please see recent studies about acting quickly after heart attack symptoms start can be a life saver and results showing that diabetes strongly linked to this heart disease in women.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s 2021 Scientific Sessions. One author of the study is Michael J. Cutler, DO, Ph.D.

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