The following is a summary of “Ventricular arrhythmia burden in ICD patients during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” published in the October 2023 issue of Cardiology by Rath et al.
COVID-19 may increase the risk of heart problems, including ventricular arrhythmias (VA), but some studies have shown a decrease in VA burden in ICD patients during the first wave of the pandemic.
Researchers performed a retrospective study to investigate whether the decrease in VA burden observed in ICD patients during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic also occurred during later periods of the pandemic.
The study examined 1,674 patients with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) who visited our outpatient clinic. We compared their outcomes during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to a control period, specifically focusing on the occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) that necessitated ICD interventions.
During the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, 795 patients with ICDs had device interrogations in our ambulatory clinic, while 879 patients had them in the control period. There was a significantly higher number of adequate ICD therapies during COVID-19, with 36 patients (4.5%) receiving a total of 85 appropriate ICD interventions compared to 16 patients (1.8%) experiencing sustained VA in the control period (P= 0.01).
The study found that ICD patients experienced a significant increase in VA during the second wave of COVID-19, possibly due to higher infection rates, vaccine side effects, behavior changes, or reduced healthcare utilization.