COVID-19 increases heart rate in people at genetic risk of heart disease

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According to new research from the FH Foundation, people with high genetic cholesterol, heart disease, or both and those infected with COVID-19 had more heart attacks. Although previous studies have speculated on poorer outcomes if a person with high genetic cholesterol (called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH)) contracts COVID-19, this study from the FH Foundation’s national health database is the first to show rates of higher heart attack in the real world. Published online at American Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the study also significantly confirms that COVID-19 increases heart attack rates in individuals with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

The FH Foundation performed an analysis of 55,412,462 individuals, separating the groups into six matching cohorts, including diagnosed FH, probable FH, and ASCVD, with and without COVID-19 infection (as identified by code U07.1 ICD -10). The researchers found that heart attack rates were higher in those diagnosed with COVID-19 and the presence of diagnosed FH or probable FH with known ASCVD.

“These results are significant because these data underscore the importance of understanding whether individuals have them or high genetics when COVID-19 infection is treated or vaccination is considered, ”said Kelly Myers, study author and head of technology at the FH Foundation.

Familial hypercholesterolemia is a common genetic condition that increases up to 20 times the risk of cardiovascular disease due to high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) cholesterol throughout life. Today, only 10% of 1.3 million Americans with FH are diagnosed due to a lack of awareness in the medical community and the public. To understand the effect of COVID-19 on these individuals, the researchers applied the FIND FH machine learning model to the data set.

The results of the study have important implications for people with FH who are not diagnosed today, the researchers say. There were “probable FH” individuals with pre-existing ASCVD who contracted COVID attacks at an annual rate seven times greater than their non-virus counterparts (AIDR 15.4% vs 2.1% p value

“The highest rates occurred in COVID-19-infected individuals who had pre-existing cardiovascular disease and were marked by the FIND FH model as probable FH. We speculate that because these people have not yet received a diagnosis of HF, they may not receive adequate treatment to reduce lipids, which poses a significantly higher risk, “added Dr. Mary McGowan, author of the study and medical director of the FH Foundation. “This study is a call to action to diagnose people with this deadly genetic disease who hide from sight within our health system and take particular precautions related to infections by COVID-19. FH is an unexplored opportunity for prevention “.

The FH Foundation plans to take advantage of this and other ongoing research to continue advocating the prioritization of FH as a public health issue.


Children with familial hypercholesterolemia are diagnosed late and mistreated


More information:
Kelly D. Myers et al, COVID-19 associated with the risks of myocardial infarction in people with familial hypercholesterolemia with or without ASCVD, American Journal of Preventive Cardiology (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.ajpc.2021.100197

Provided by the Hypercholesterolemia Family Foundation

Citation: COVID-19 Increases Heart Attack Rate in People at Genetic Risk of Heart Disease (2021, May 27) Retrieved May 27, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05- covid-heart-people-genetic- disease.html

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