As per a study published in the European Heart Journal, Covid-19 patients who suffer from a cardiac arrest in or out of the hospital are more likely to die than those not infected.
The study shows that women have the highest risk than men and are nine times more likely to die following a cardiac arrest.
The research, conducted in Sweden, consisted of about 1946 people who suffered a cardiac arrest out of hospital (OHCA) and 1080 who suffered one inside the hospital (IHCA) between the period of 1st January and 20th July, last year. During the study, 10 per cent of all OHCAs and 16 per cent of all IHCAs had Covid-19. However, IHCA patients have only a 2.3 fold increased risk of dying within a month while OHCA patients have 3.4 fold increased risk.
"Our study clearly shows that cardiac arrest and COVID-19 is a very lethal combination. Covid-19 patients should be monitored intensively, and measures are taken to prevent cardiac arrest, for instance with the use of continuous heart monitors for patients at high risk," said Dr Pedram Sultanian, first author of the study and a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg.
After comparing pre-pandemic cases with Covid-19 cases, researchers found that the overall risk of dying following an OHCA nearly tripled. There was a 4.5-fold increased risk for men, and the risk in women increase by a third. In IHCA, the overall risk doubled as it increased by a half in men and more than nine-fold in women.
The percentage of people treated with both chest compression and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation fell from 33 per cent (pre-pandemic) to 23 per cent (during the pandemic). The European Resuscitation Council and the Swedish Resuscitation Council had issued guidelines in March 2020 asking bystanders who witness a person's cardiac arrest not to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and concentrate on chest compressions since COVID-19 transmits through droplets.
"Although previous studies have indicated that compression-only CPR delivered by bystanders may be as effective as compressions and ventilation combined, this may not apply to cases with COVID-19, since they are primarily suffering from respiratory failure," said Dr Araz Rawshani, senior author of the study.
The researchers are hoping the study could help authorities and healthcare workers handle the pandemic more efficiently.