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Heartbeat: hospitalisation for COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk of subsequent adverse cardiovascular events
  1. Catherine M Otto
  1. Division of Cardiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Catherine M Otto, Division of Cardiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; cmotto{at}

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In order to assess whether previous COVID-19 infection might be associated with a higher risk of subsequent adverse cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, Raisi-Estabragh and colleagues1 analysed incident CVD events in 17 871 UK Biobank cases with prospective follow-up from March 2020 to March 2021. Hospitalisation for COVID-19 was associated with an increased risk of several adverse CVD events, including myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, venous thromboembolism and mortality (figure 1). Risk was highest in the first 30 days after infection, but remained higher than matched controls over an average follow-up of 141 days. In cases with COVID-19 who were not hospitalised, risk was higher only for venous thromboembolism and all-cause mortality.

Figure 1

Summary of study design and results. AF, atrial fibrillation; CVD, cardiovascular disease; IHD, ischaemic heart disease; MI, myocardial infarction; VTE, venous thromboembolism. red bars indicate statistically significant associations (p<0.05).

In the accompanying editorial, Bularga and colleagues2 point out that the association between systemic inflammation due to respiratory infection and an increased risk of adverse CVD events was well known prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘However, the proportionately greater breadth and increase in cardiovascular events seen with COVID-19 are exceptional and suggest more than a simple inflammatory effect. This has been hypothesised to relate to endothelial …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.