Study identifies indicators for COVID-19 complications among adults with congenital heart disease

A medical image shows the heart and circulatory system.

Throughout the pandemic, doctors have monitored how patients born with a heart defect, also referred to as congenital heart disease, respond to COVID-19. A study conducted at 58 international medical centers found that adults with congenital heart disease had similar rates for COVID-19 infection compared to patients without an inherited heart condition.

In this study, 24 patients out of 1,044 diagnosed with COVID-19 died (2.3%). Approximately 179 patients, 17%, were hospitalized. The researchers found differences in the heart’s anatomical structure didn’t correlate with higher rates of severe COVID-19 infection. However, measures of cardiac function, such as low oxygen levels, pulmonary hypertension, or a previous hospitalization related to heart failure, did. Male sex, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease emerged as other indicators for severe COVID-19 infection, similar to the general population. The most common COVID-19 symptoms among adults with congenital heart disease were also similar to those of other patients: fever, dry cough, and fatigue.

The study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology with an editorial about how this information may help identify patients at risk for severe COVID-19 infection.