Rate and Cause of Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Vaccination
The study titled “Rate and Cause of Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Vaccination” by De Gaspari et al. investigates the rates and causes of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young people during the COVID-19 pandemic and following the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines. The research was conducted in the Veneto Region of northeast Italy, analyzing mortality records from January 2018 to December 2022.
- Study Population and Methodology: The study focused on residents aged 1 to 40 years in the Veneto Region. Mortality records were collected at the Regional Epidemiological Center for the periods before and during the pandemic, and after vaccine availability. Autopsies of SCD cases were studied according to a standardized protocol.
- SCD Classification: Sudden deaths were classified as SCD when an autopsy identified a cardiovascular disease as the underlying cause. If no cause of death was found at autopsy, including toxicology, death was assumed to be SCD with a normal heart.
- Population and Vaccination Data: The population in the study age range decreased slightly from 2018 to 2022. By December 2021, a significant proportion of the population had received at least one vaccine dose, with higher rates in older age groups.
- SCD/Other Sudden Death Rates: The study found no variation in yearly rates of SCD/other sudden death or cardiac arrhythmia/unspecified death from 2018 to 2022. The rates were stable across all years, including during the pandemic and post-vaccination periods.
- Causes of SCD: Autopsy investigation revealed various underlying diseases in SCD cases, including coronary atherosclerosis, arrhythmogenic and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, aortic dissection, myocarditis, congenital malformations, mitral valve prolapse, and cerebral hemorrhage. The study noted no increase in myocarditis rates during the study period.
- COVID-19 Vaccination and SCD: Among the SCD cases, 20 individuals had received a COVID-19 vaccination. No inflammatory cause of death was found in these cases. The causes of death among the vaccinated included arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, obstructive coronary atherosclerosis, and unexplained SCD. The study did not find an increased rate of SCD in the post-vaccination period.
- Conclusion: The study concludes that there was no increased rate of SCD in young people both during the COVID-19 pandemic and after the introduction of COVID-19 vaccination. The causes of SCD, including those who experienced SCD within 30 days of their COVID-19 vaccination, were consistent with pre-pandemic causes.
This study provides important insights into the rates and causes of sudden cardiac death in young people during the COVID-19 pandemic and after the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, contributing to the ongoing discussion about the pandemic’s impact on cardiovascular health.