No link between Covid vaccine and sudden heart attack among youths: ICMR

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A comprehensive study by the Indian Council of Medical Research has concluded that Covid-19 vaccination does not increase the risk of unexplained sudden deaths among young adults in the country. On the contrary, the study suggests that receiving at least one dose of the vaccine may actually reduce the likelihood of such fatalities.

The apex health research body in its study has said that admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 in the past, family history of sudden death and certain lifestyle behaviours increased the likelihood of unexplained death among young adults in India and not Covid vaccination. The study “Factors associated with sudden deaths among adults aged 18-45 years in India – a multicentric matched case-control study” has been published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.

“We found no evidence of a positive association of COVID-19 vaccination with unexplained sudden death among young adults. On the contrary, the present study documents that COVID-19 vaccination indeed reduced the risk of unexplained sudden death in this age group,” the study said.

It highlighted that family history of sudden death, hospitalization for COVID-19 and lifestyle behaviours such as recent binge drinking and vigorous-intensity physical activity were risk factors for unexplained sudden death. Addressing these factors among young adults could potentially modify their risk of unexplained sudden death, it said.

Anecdotal reports of sudden deaths among healthy young adults in India led the researchers to conduct the investigation. The sudden deaths had raised concerns that they might be related to COVID-19 or the vaccination against the disease. The study was conducted to investigate the factors contributing to sudden unexplained deaths among healthy young adults in India.

The study was conducted through participation of 47 tertiary care hospitals across India. Cases were apparently healthy individuals aged 18-45 years without any known co-morbidity, who suddenly (less than 24 hours of hospitalization or seen apparently healthy 24 hours before death) died of unexplained causes during October 1, 2021-March 31, 2023. Four controls were included per case matched for age, gender and neighbourhood.

The researchers interviewed/perused records to collect data on COVID-19 vaccination/ infection and post-COVID-19 conditions, family history of sudden death, smoking, recreational drug use, alcohol frequency and binge drinking and vigorous-intensity physical activity two days before death/interviews.