NEW DELHI: According to research conducted by Dr. D. Prabhakaran at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), 47% of Covid-19 patients hospitalized during the first and second waves had hypertension and 32% had diabetes mellitus—two of the most prevalent cardiovascular risk factors. “Those who succumbed to the disease within 30 days of being hospitalized more frequently presented with significantly higher heart rates, lower diastolic blood pressures, shortness of breath, and anemia,” the study Overall, there were 59% men and a mean age (SD) of 57 years. The body mass index (BMI) was 26 on average. 9 (5.3) Kg/m2, 25% of participants were overweight (BMI 25–29), and 15% of participants were obese. Covid-19 patients recruited from low-income countries had a higher in-hospital death rate of 10% compared to high income countries (HIC), where the in-hospital death rate stood at 4%. Lower-middle income (LMIC) and upper-middle income (UMIC) countries had in-hospital death rates of 15% and 19%, respectively. The World Heart Federation and PHFI study, which aimed to bridge the Covid-19 research gap from LMICs and make a comparison with High income countries, was carried out to better understand outcomes among hospitalized patients with the infection. The study revealed that patients were relatively younger as compared to previous publications (average age of 57 years), predominantly middle-aged men, with a high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension. Dr. Prabhakaran, vice president (research and policy) at PHFI, stated that Indians have a higher prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, which may be the cause of the higher mortality in South Asians. “It is important to note that 20% of the deaths up to 30 days after covid were sudden cardiac deaths and can be attributed to arrhythmias and heart attacks. This emphasizes the need for cardiac precautions and surveillance even after discharge from the hospital,” Dr. Ashok said. Researchers from the University of Oxford, University of Zurich, and University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health recommended in a study that was recently published in the European Heart Journal (EHJ) that people who are at a high risk of developing heart diseases, such as those with diabetes, hypertension, or a history of heart conditions, should have a thorough screening to evaluate their heart health 8 to 12 weeks after recovering from Covid-19. They added, “Such persons may also require additional testing if there is any abnormality.” According to the researchers, Covid-19 can harm the heart both acutely and chronically through a number of mechanisms, including cell-to-cell contact damage, blood vessel thrombosis and inflammation, and immunological response induction.
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