ICMR study links severe COVID-19, lifestyle habits to spike in sudden death risks among adults

A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has found that Covid-19 infections could possibly cause sudden deaths through heart attacks. It also states that those who have suffered a severe bout of the infection should not overexert themselves for at least a year or two. The findings were revealed in a pre-review summary of a study titled, “Factors associated with sudden deaths among adults aged 18–45 in India”. 

This multi-centric matched case-control study by the ICMR, which concluded this month, has highlighted the factors that triggered the chances of sudden death, including having a family history of sudden deaths, being in the hospital for COVID-19 in the past, and lifestyle habits such as binge drinking and intense physical activity shortly before death. 

Meanwhile, key findings further specified that the Covid-19 vaccination did not stoke the risk of sudden death among young adults in India. 

The findings come at a time when there has been a spate of deaths due to heart attacks in Gujarat at Garba events during the recent Navratri celebrations. At least 10 people succumbed to heart attack during Garba events in a single day, the youngest victim being only 17 years old. 

Last week, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also quoted the study, cautioning individuals with a history of severe COVID-19 infection. Mandaviya stated that these people should refrain from strenuous physical activity for a period of one to two years to reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiac arrests. 

Speaking about the country’s healthcare ecosystem, the health minister said, “We follow a holistic and inclusive approach. We are expanding the health infrastructure and are promoting traditional systems of medicine.” 

Multiple reports of sudden deaths among healthy young adults in India expedited researchers to conduct a probe into the possible link between Covid-19 and the vaccination with the deaths. 

The study, which looked into factors contributing to these unexplained deaths, included cases of 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. 

The findings showed that vaccination played no part in the increased risk of sudden deaths among young adults in the country. On the contrary, the vaccination reduced the risk of sudden deaths among adults, according to the report summary. 

Each case had four matched controls based on age, gender, and locality. 

Investigators enrolled 729 cases and 2,916 controls, and collected information from both cases and controls about things like their medical history, lifestyle habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, and intense physical activity, whether they had been in the hospital because of COVID-19, and whether they had received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. (News courtesy: moneycontrol.com) 

Image courtesy of moneycontrol.com

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