Cardio Round-up: VTE Risk and COVID-19; Global HF Burden; and More

Adding to the pile of research linking COVID-19 and vascular issues, a new study indicates that venous thromboembolism (VTE) incidence is higher in patients with COVID-19-related respiratory failure than with respiratory failure related to other conditions. The small study included 70 patients (57 with COVID) and subjected participants to ultrasonography scans at three days, one week, and at two weeks. “The cumulative frequency of VTE from our study (36.8%) agrees with the aggregated frequency (35%) from previous studies that were included in our systematic review. Hence, our results reinforce the previous findings with less bias than the available literature,” the authors remarked.

The scourge of air pollution and its adverse effects on cardiovascular health continues to present an elevated risk for the elderly population in the United States. A recent Circulation study looked at data on more than 63 million Medicare enrollees from 2000 to 2016, focusing on the link between exposure to fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone, and four cardiovascular and respiratory outcomes (myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, atrial fibrillation/flutter, and pneumonia). Long-term exposure to air pollution was linked with increases in risk for all study outcomes. “More than half of the study population is exposed to low levels of these pollutants, according to U.S. benchmarks, therefore, the long-term health impact of these pollutants should be a serious concern for all, including policymakers, clinicians, and patients,” a researcher commented.

New research showed that myocarditis-like injury does often occur after severe infections of COVID-19. The new European Heart Journal paper included 148 patients with severe COVID-19 infections and troponin elevations who were discharged from six medical centers. About 54% of the patients had late gadolinium enhancement and/or ischemia, myocarditis-like scarring (26%), infarction and/or ischemia (22%), and dual pathology (6%). “Myocardial injury during COVID-19 infection severe enough to require acute hospital admission is associated with a CMR abnormality in approximately half of patients,” the researchers concluded.

Finally, the global burden of heart failure is considerable and presents a daunting global health challenge going into the future, according to a study. Since 1990, according to the paper, there have been increases of 91.9% (age-standardized prevalence) and 106.0% (years lived with disabilities) as of 2017. “Public health workers and policymakers can use the data provided in this study to design interventions to prevent and manage heart failure in their countries,” the lead study author said in a statement. “In addition, educational campaigns are needed to increase awareness about the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles.”