MONDAY, March 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Patients with congenital heart defects (CHD) with COVID-19 have an increased prevalence of critical COVID-19 illness, according to a research letter published online March 7 in Circulation.

Karrie F. Downing, M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Response Team in Atlanta, and colleagues compared the prevalence of critical COVID-19 illness (intensive care unit [ICU] admission, invasive mechanical ventilation [IMV], or death) among hospitalized COVID-19 patients with and without CHD using data on inpatient encounters from March 2020 through January 2021.

The researchers found that 0.2 percent of the 235,638 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who were aged 1 to 64 years had CHD. Overall, 68.4 and 58.8 percent of those with and without CHD, respectively, had one or more comorbidity; 12.8 and 1.4 percent of those with and without CHD, respectively, were aged 1 to 17 years. Of the patients with COVID-19 with CHD, more than half were admitted to the ICU, 24.0 percent required IMV, and 11.2 percent died during hospitalization. ICU admission, IMV, and death were more prevalent among patients with COVID-19 with versus without CHD after adjustment (adjusted prevalence ratios, 1.4, 1.8, and 2.0, respectively). Among the patients with CHD, critical COVID-19 outcomes were associated with having comorbidities, male sex, and age 50 to 64 years versus 18 to 29 years.

“More work is needed to identify why the clinical course of COVID-19 disease results in significantly worse outcomes for some hospitalized patients with risk factors for critical COVID-19 illness, like heart defects, and not for others,” Downing said in a statement.

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