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COVID-19 patients with underlying heart conditions at higher death risk, study confirms

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London, Aug 15: COVID-19 patients with underlying heart conditions or risk factors may develop cardiovascular complications while hospitalised, and are more likely to die from the novel coronavirus infection, according to a review of studies which could help clinicians identify individuals at higher risk.

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While most patients with COVID-19 experience only mild illness, the review research published in the journal PLOS ONE, noted that the disease can generate severe pneumonia and lead to death in others.

According to the researchers from the Magna Graecia University of Catanzaro in Italy, it is crucial for clinicians working with cardiovascular patients to understand the clinical presentation and risk factors for COVID-19 infection in this group.

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The findings, according to the researchers, strongly suggests that COVID-19 fatality is influenced by pre-existing heart conditions and/or cardiovascular risk factors.

In the current study, they analysed data from 21 published observational studies on a total of 77,317 hospitalised COVID-19 patients in Asia, Europe and the US.

At the time they were admitted to the hospital, the scientists found that 12.89 per cent of the patients had cardiovascular comorbidities, 36.08 per cent had hypertension, and 19.45 per cent had diabetes.

They said cardiovascular complications were documented during the hospital stay of 14.09 per cent of the COVID-19 patients.

The most common of these complications were irregular heartbeats with a significant numbers of patients also experiencing heart injury, the study noted.

When the scientists assessed the data, they also found that pre-existing cardiovascular comorbidities or risk factors were significant predictors of heart complications, but age and gender were not.

'These findings unveil additional prognostic elements that should be taken into account, in addition to age and gender, to influence the risk prognostication and clinical management of COVID-19 patients,' they noted.

'Cardiovascular complications are frequent among COVID-19 patients and might contribute to adverse clinical events and mortality,' the scientists wrote in the study.

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