Prior heart defect may up risk for severe Covid: Study

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People with congenital heart defect hospitalised with Covid-19 infection could be at higher risk for severe illness or death than those without a heart defect, according to new research.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, and more than a dozen types result when the heart, or blood vessels near the heart dona¿t develop normally before birth.

Researchers fromA the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)found that people with a congenital heart defect who contracted Covid were also more likely to require treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) or need a ventilator.

The analysis found that the patients with a heart defect had at least one other health condition. The risk was highest among men above 50, revealed the study published in the peer-reviewed journal Circulation.

aceData comparing Covid-19 outcomes among individuals with and without congenital heart defects has been limited,” said lead author Karrie Downing, epidemiologist at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the Covid-19 Response Team at the US CDC.

The team examined data on 235,638 people, aged 1 to 64 years old, hospitalised with Covid patients from March 2020 to January 2021.

Of the hospitalised patients, 421 had a congenital heart defect.

About 54 per cent of patients with a congenital heart defect were admitted to the ICU; 24 per cent required a ventilator to breathe; and 11 per cent died during hospitalisation.

acePeople with heart defects should be encouraged to receive the Covid-19 vaccines and boosters,” Downing said.

She recommended them to continue practicing additional preventive measures, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing.

According to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2022 Update, congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect worldwide, with a global prevalence of 157 per 100,000 in 2017.

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