Patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to an intensive care unit were 10 times more likely than other hospitalized COVID-19 patients to suffer cardiac arrest or heart rhythm disorders, according to a new study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine.
Researchers say the results suggest that cardiac arrests and arrhythmias suffered by some patients with COVID-19 are likely triggered by a severe, systemic form of the disease and are not the sole consequence of the viral infection. The findings—which differ significantly from early reports that showed a high incidence of arrhythmias among all COVID-19 patients—provide more clarity about the role of the novel coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, and the disease it causes, COVID-19, in the development of arrhythmias, including irregular heart rate (atrial fibrillation), slow heart rhythms (bradyarrhythmia) or rapid heart rate that stops by itself within 30 seconds (non-sustained ventricular tachycardia).
“In order to best protect and treat patients who develop COVID-19, it’s critical for us to improve our understanding of how the disease affects various organs and pathways within our body—including our heart rhythm abnormalities,” says the study’s senior and corresponding author Rajat Deo, a cardiac electrophysiologist and an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Penn. “Our findings suggest that non-cardiac causes such as systemic infection, inflammation, and illness are likely to contribute more to the occurrence of cardiac arrest and arrhythmias than damaged or infected heart cells due to the viral infection.”
This story is by Mike Iorfino. Read more at Penn Medicine News.