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Patients who have suffered heart failure are at a heightened risk for severe outcomes if they contract COVID-19, according to a scientific statement from a research panel led by a cardiovascular specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The statement from the Heart Failure Society of America was published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure. Dr. Ankeet S. Bhatt, a clinical and research fellow at the Brigham’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, served as lead author and cochair of the committee that wrote the statement, along with Dr. Anuradha Lala of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

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“Patients with heart failure are uniquely susceptible to adverse outcomes in the setting of COVID-19 infection, highlighting the importance of vaccination,” the statement said.

Brigham and Women’s said the society’s statement discussed such questions as the effect of COVID-19 on patients with histories of heart failure, the implications for heart transplants, and concerns about COVID-19-related myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle.

The Brigham said the society’s statement also addressed lingering questions about the effects of COVID-19 and described persistent cardiac symptoms and evidence of cardiac injury that may occur during post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, more commonly known as “long COVID.”

The society’s statement was posted Wednesday to the Journal of Cardiac Failure’s website.

It says that in “a retrospective analysis of over 8 million individuals with HF [heart failure] from the National Inpatient Sample, those diagnosed with influenza during hospitalization had higher rates of in-hospital mortality, acute respiratory failure, and acute renal failure even after propensity matching. Together, these data identified patients with HF as possibly more vulnerable to serious adverse events associated with COVID-19.”

And here’s what the research team said, in part, about the challenging issue of transplants: “Heart transplantation and non-urgent surgical, electrophysiology, and catheter procedures for HF should likely be deferred if a candidate tests positive” via PCR test.

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Heart failure occurs when the heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it is supposed to. It can either be an ongoing condition or one that starts suddenly, according to mayoclinic.org.




Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.