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Adults and children with heart defects were at a lower than expected risk of developing moderate or severe COVID-19 symptoms. That was the finding of a study of more than 7,000 patients from the Center for Congenital Heart Disease at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
As the pandemic progressed, evidence has shown that people with heart disease are at greater risk of life-threatening illnesses and complications from COVID-19. However, the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on people with congenital heart disease, who are generally younger than people with adult heart disease, were unknown.
Approximately 1% (40,000) of babies born in the United States each year have one or more heart defects.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, many feared that congenital heart disease could be just as much a risk factor for severe COVID-19 as cardiovascular disease in adults,” says Dr. Matthew Lewis, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vagelos College, Columbia University of Columbia Physicians and Surgeons and co-lead the study. “We were reassured by the low number of congenital heart patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and the relatively good outcomes of these patients.”
Few congenital heart patients have had COVID-19
Only 53 congenital heart patients (43 adults and 10 children) – less than 0.8% of the patients in the Colombian Congenital Heart Center – showed their doctor symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection from March to June. (During the study period, an estimated 20% of people in the New York metropolitan area were infected with the coronavirus.)
More than 80% (43) of these patients had mild symptoms. Of the 9 patients who developed moderate to severe symptoms, 3 died (Another study, conducted at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center during the same period, found that approximately 22% of the general population hospitalized became seriously ill and about a third of these patients died.)
In the new study, researchers found that patients with a genetic syndrome and adults with advanced disease due to their congenital heart defect were more likely to develop moderate to severe symptoms, even though the type of congenital heart defect a person had did not affect the severity of symptoms.
Although the sample was small, the researchers conclude that congenital heart disease alone may not be enough to increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.
People with congenital heart disease are unlikely to have a lower inherent risk of developing serious illnesses from the new coronavirus, and the researchers believe that given the publicity, the patients in this study followed stricter social distancing guidelines compared to the general population have an increased risk of COVID-19 in patients with heart disease. The researchers warn that people with congenital heart disease should continue to practice strict social distancing and follow all CDC guidelines, as these measures are likely to contribute to the study results.
They also find that the younger mean age (34 years) of these patients and the lower incidence of acquired cardiac risk factors compared to other people with severe COVID-19 may explain why fewer congenital heart patients than expected had severe symptoms.
“It is possible that older patients with congenital heart disease may have a different risk profile than the general population,” adds Brett Anderson, Florence Irving, assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and co-director of the study. “We still have to define what these risk factors are.”
Low risk of COVID-19 infection in people with congenital heart disease
Matthew J. Lewis et al., The Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Lifespan Congenital Heart Disease Patients: The Experience of an Academic Center for Congenital Heart Disease in New York City, Journal of the American Heart Association (2020 ). DOI: 10.1161 / JAHA.120.017580 Provided by Irving Medical Center at Columbia University
Quote: Congenital Heart Defects May Not Increase Your Risk Of Serious COVID-19 Symptoms (2020, October 16), posted on October 16, 2020 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-congenital-heart-defects-severe -covid- were retrieved. .html
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