Heart inflammation 7 times more likely with COVID-19 than vaccines

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Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle.

Myocarditis has rarely been reported. When reported, the cases have especially been in adolescents and young adult males within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).

In a study from Penn State, scientists found the risk of developing myocarditis is seven times higher with a COVID-19 infection than with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Patients with myocarditis can experience chest pains, shortness of breath or an irregular heartbeat. In severe cases, the inflammation can lead to heart failure and death.

Myocarditis is one of the complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Although vaccines have been shown to reduce severe COVID-19 symptoms, heart complications have been associated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccination—particularly myocarditis in teenage boys.

However, the relative risk of myocarditis due to vaccines and infections had not been well examined in large studies.

In the study, the team conducted the largest study to date on the risk of developing myocarditis as a result of having the coronavirus vs. experiencing inflammation following COVID-19 vaccination.

The researchers compared patients with COVID-19—vaccinated and unvaccinated—to those without the virus.

They used data from 22 studies published worldwide from December 2019 through May 2022.

The studies included nearly 58 million patients who reported cardiac complications and belonged to one of two groups:

the 55.5 million who were vaccinated against COVID-19 compared to those who were not vaccinated (vaccination group), and the 2.5 million who contracted the virus compared to those who did not contract the virus (COVID-19 group).

The team found the risk of myocarditis was 15 times higher in COVID-19 patients, regardless of vaccination status, compared to people who did not contract the virus.

Next, the researchers separately compared the rates of myocarditis in those who received the vaccines to those in unvaccinated individuals.

According to the findings, the rates of myocarditis in people who were vaccinated against COVID-19 were only twofold higher than in unvaccinated people.

Based on all the findings, the researchers concluded that the risk of myocarditis due to COVID-19 was seven times higher than the risk related to the vaccines.

The team says COVID-19 infection and the related vaccines both pose a risk for myocarditis.

However, the relative risk of heart inflammation induced by COVID-19 infection is substantially greater than the risk posed by the vaccines.

They hope the findings will help mitigate vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccine uptake.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about why smokers have a lower risk of COVID-19, and scientists find antibodies that block all the COVID-19 variants.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies that your genes and blood type may help predict your risk of severe COVID-19, and results showing the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

The study was conducted by Dr. Navya Voleti et al and published in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine.

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