Mumbai: Covid vaccination wasn't the risk factor that increased the cases of sudden cardiac arrest among the younger population, revealed a multi-centric matched case-control study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to investigate the factors contributing to unexplained deaths among healthy young adults.
The findings are yet to be peer-reviewed and published. As per the study titled 'Factors associated with sudden deaths among adults aged 18-45 in India', underlying health issues and unhealthy lifestyle are more prominent reasons for heart attacks, especially among youth.
The eye-opening insights were detailed in a pre-review summary. A senior ICMR official said that as per the study, Covid vaccination, in fact, reduced the risk of sudden deaths among adults. “The factors that did increase the chances of sudden death include a family history of sudden death, hospitalisation for Covid, and certain behaviors such as binge drinking and intense physical activity shortly before death,” explained the official.
Soaring cases of heart attacks
Last week, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya cautioned that young individuals, who have previously experienced a severe episode of Covid, should refrain from strenuous physical activity for a period of one to two years to reduce the risk of heart attacks. Moreover, there have been multiple heart-related deaths in Gujarat during the Navratri festivities. “The ICMR – India's apex health research agency – has done a detailed study on possible Covid link with the sudden unexplained deaths and advised that those who had recovered from severe Covid infection should desist from extra labour,” the minister had said.
The study includes cases and controls with cases were the apparently healthy individuals aged 18-45 with no underlying health issues, who died suddenly due to unexplained causes between October 1, 2021, and March 31, 2023. For each case, four matched controls were selected based on age, gender, and locality. Investigators enrolled 729 cases and 2,916 controls. They collected information from both the cases and controls about their medical history, behaviours like smoking, alcohol consumption, and intense physical activity, whether they had been in the hospital because of the pandemic, and if they had received Covid doses.
Commenting on the findings, SL Raheja Hospital consultant Dr Sanjith Saseedharan said that these results are quite different from the western world. In this study, the major reasons for sudden cardiac death can still be attributed to the usual causes which include smoking, alcohol consumption and intense physical activity. This again puts forth the important fact that studies from the West and those from India are likely to have differing outcomes and results. This may be due to the fact that Indians have a completely different genetic makeup and very different dietary habits as compared to the West, he said.
Study focuses on 18-45 age group
Includes unexplained deaths between October 1, 2021, and March 31, 2023
For each case, 4 matched controls were selected based on age, gender and locality Investigators enrolled 729 cases and 2,916 controls
They collected information from cases and controls about their medical history, behaviours like smoking, alcohol consumption and intense physical activity
They were also queried about Covid hospitalisation, vaccination