People with this heart condition are at severe risk of COVID-19 complications

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new study shows people suffering from a certain heart condition are at greater risk of COVID-19 complications. 

The disease is called atrial fibrillation, or AFib. It’s characterized as a quivering-like, irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure. 

Scientists at the Utah-based nonprofit Intermountain Healthcare examined 3,119 people infected with COVID-19 between March 2020 and May 2021. All were diagnosed with AFib prior to viral infection.

They found patients were nearly 62% more likely to suffer life-threatening cardiac events than those without AFib. Patients were also 40% more likely to die from COVID-19 illness. 

“We often think of AFib as more of a nuisance arrhythmia that can cause unpleasant symptoms and generally not life-threatening,” said lead researcher, Dr. Michael J. Cutler, in a previous interview. “However, the findings of our study suggest that patients with AFib are at higher risk than the general population for serious complications from COVID-19.”

Cutler goes on to say he hopes this research will raise awareness for people with atrial fibrillation so they can take appropriate precautions to prevent a coronavirus infection.