Covid-19 patients who suffer cardiac arrest more likely to die: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 05, 2021

A new study carried out by researchers in Sweden revealed that Covid-19 patients who suffer cardiac arrest are more likely to die, compared to non-Covid-19 patients.

The study, published in the 'European Heart Journal', stressed that this threat is nine times higher in women.

For the study, the researchers included 1946 people who suffered a cardiac arrest out of hospital and 1080 who suffered one in hospital between 1 January and 20 July.

During the pandemic phase of the study, Covid-19 was involved in at least 10 per cent of all OHCAs (Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest) and 16 per cent of IHCAs (In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest).

Coronavirus patients who had an OHCA had a 3.4-fold increased risk of dying within 30 days. While IHCA patients had a 2.3-fold increased risk of dying within 30 days.

None of these patients had been discharged alive from the hospital by the time the study was concluded in October 2020. Many had died and the rest were still being treated in hospital.

The first author of the study, Pedram Sultanian, a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) said: "Our study clearly shows that cardiac arrest and COVID-19 is a very lethal combination. Patients with the coronavirus should be monitored intensively and measures are taken to prevent cardiac arrest, for instance with the use of continuous heart monitors for patients at high risk."

Notably, the findings also revealed that 7.6 per cent of pre-pandemic patients were still alive 30 days after suffering an OHCA. Once the pandemic started, 9.8 per cent of patients without Covid-19 and 4.7 per cent with Covid-19 survived for 30 days. While 83.4 per cent of Covid-19 patients died within 24 hours.

Pre-pandemic, 36.4 per cent of IHCA patients survived for 30 days, but once the pandemic started 39.5 per cent of non-Covid-19 patients; and 23.1 per cent of Covid-19 patients survived for 30 days; 60.5 per cent of COVID-19 patients died within 24 hours.

When they compared pre-pandemic cases with Covid-19 cases, the researchers found that the overall risk of dying following an OHCA nearly tripled.

This was spiked by 4.5-fold for men and by a third for women. The overall risk of dying after an IHCA more than doubled. It was increased by a half in men and more than nine-fold in women.

Senior author of the study, Araz Rawshani, physician and researcher at the University of Gothenburg said: "The study also shows that fewer patients in hospital with COVID-19 were monitored with electrocardiograms, which is potentially life-saving as it enables a cardiac arrest to be spotted immediately.”

He added: “We believe that COVID-19 patients should be monitored with ECGs and monitored for oxygen saturation, as this would allow for prompt recognition of irregular heartbeats and declining oxygen saturation."

Published on February 05, 2021

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