Unvaccinated people with heart disease 9 times more likely to die in COVID-19

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Scientists from the Queen Mary University of London found that unvaccinated people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or major heart damage are up to nine times more likely to suffer serious COVID-19 outcomes—including death, lung failure, admission to intensive care, and kidney problems.

The research is published in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine and was conducted by Dr. Ajay Gupta et al.

In the study, the team looked at almost 49,000 unvaccinated patients in total and identified multiple predictors of more severe COVID-19 and worse outcomes in them compared to vaccinated individuals.

They found that evidence of heart muscle damage at the time of admission to the hospital was associated with a nine-fold increase in the likelihood of death.

Patients found to have such heart issues also had higher chances of developing other complications, including severe lung failure and acute kidney injury, and required higher rates of intensive care admission and invasive mechanical ventilation.

The researchers also found that unvaccinated individuals with pre-existing high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart artery disease had a two to three-fold increased risk of death, and up to 2.5-fold increased risk of other COVID-19 related complications.

When comparing the three medical conditions, individuals with diabetes were at the highest risk of developing severe lung failure.

Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, these conditions were already known to be common predictors of heart attack and stroke.

These findings present a strong case for these at-risk groups to be prioritized for vaccinations and other preventative measures.

This is especially true in low and middle-income countries, where the impact of heart disease is particularly high.

The team says these findings can help doctors identify unvaccinated individuals who are at a higher risk of worse outcomes, even without special tests.

Successful vaccination programs have drastically reduced the social and economic burdens of COVID-19 by altering the disease course and effective prevention of severe disease.

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