In 2020, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart inflammation cases in U.S. hospitals rose by 43 percent — with more than 40 percent of cases occurring among COVID-19 patients.
Patients admitted with Covid were 16 times more likely to have heart inflammation than those admitted with other conditions.
Older men and teenage boys were most likely to face the condition.
Covid patients under the age of 16 had a 0.13 percent chance of having heart inflammation, compared with a less than 0.1 percent chance for adults aged 16 to 39.
The data from the CDC suggests that heart inflammation is much more common as a result of Covid itself than as a side effect of the vaccine.
Covid patients are more likely to have heart inflammation than patients for other conditions — or recipients of Covid vaccines — according to new CDC data. Pictured: Medics transfer a patient outside Coral Gables Hospital, near Miami, Florida, in August 2021
Heart inflammation cases rose 43 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the CDC
Earlier this year, scientists identified a form of heart inflammation called myocarditis as a possible side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines.
A very small number of vaccinated patients — about 1,000 out of more than 200 million — have experienced this condition after their second injection of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Younger men are more likely to experience this side effect, although it is still very rare in this population — about 40 cases in every million men aged 12 to 29 who are vaccinated.
Scientists say the benefits of vaccination against Covid outweigh the risks of rare side effects.
A severe case of Covid actually leads to more heart inflammation than a vaccine, such as: a new CDC study shows:.
CDC researchers used a large database of more than 36 million anonymous hospital patient records, covering more than 900 hospitals in the US
Within that database, the researchers identified about 5,000 patients diagnosed with heart inflammation between March 2020 and January 2021.
These heart inflammation cases rose 43 percent from 2019 to 2020, the researchers found — from about 3,200 cases in 2019 to 4,600 in 2020.
The highest number of patients were diagnosed with this condition in the spring of 2020 and from November 2020 to January 2021, in line with the large increase in the virus in the US
During the study period, approximately 0.15 percent of all Covid patients admitted to hospital had heart inflammation.
For the patients who did not have Covid, that number was just 0.009 percent.
The risk of heart inflammation was 16 times higher for Covid patients than for those hospitalized with other conditions.
Indeed, of the 5,000 patients with heart inflammation, more than 40 percent had a history of Covid – either they were infected when they went to the hospital, or they had an infection prior to their hospital visit.
Among the Covid patients in the study, men, children under 16 and seniors were more likely to have heart inflammation, the CDC found
Among the Covid patients, men had a higher risk of heart inflammation, with 0.19 percent of men developing the condition compared to 0.11 percent of women.
Seniors had a higher risk than middle-aged and younger adults.
Adults over the age of 70 had the highest risk of heart inflammation (0.24 percent of Covid patients), followed by those between 65 and 74 years (0.19 percent).
Children under the age of 16 also had a remarkably high risk of heart inflammation compared to other age groups — 0.13 percent.
Young adults ages 16 to 39 had a risk of less than 0.1 percent.
However, the researchers noted that younger adults are less likely to experience severe Covid compared to older adults, so this age group may not have been screened for symptoms of heart inflammation in the same way as seniors.
Scientists are still trying to understand exactly how Covid causes heart inflammation. Pictured: The cardiovascular recovery room at a hospital in Grants Pass, Oregon, August 2021
Scientists are still trying to understand exactly how Covid causes heart inflammation, but it appears to be linked to an immune system overreaction – a common phenomenon in serious viral infections.
The CDC study is limited in that researchers looked back at past hospital records, rather than actively examining patients’ symptoms.
However, it is consistent with findings from previous studies of heart inflammation showing that Covid patients are at higher risk compared to other, non-Covid patients – and compared to those who receive the vaccines.
An Israeli study cited by the CDC researchers found that Covid patients were 18 times more likely to develop a heart infection.
Recipients of the Covid vaccine were only three times more likely to have the condition.
“These findings underscore the importance of implementing evidence-based COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination, to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on public health and associated complications,” the researchers wrote.