Study: Vaccinated COVID-19 patients less likely to die of heart attacks

A two-year study of COVID-positive heart attack patients found that those who had not gotten vaccinated were much more likely to die than their vaccinated counterparts.

The medical research conducted by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology drew its sample from 64 medical facilities in North America, including facilities in Minneapolis and Duluth.

In all, the study looked at 586 COVID-positive patients who were admitted to the hospital with heart attacks. Of that group, 227 were treated in 2020 — before the vaccine was available — and 359 were treated in 2021.

In 2021, none of the 22 COVID-positive heart attack patients in the study who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 died in the hospital, but roughly 1 in 5 unvaccinated patients died. Additionally, overall in-hospital mortality decreased from 33% to 23%.

Dr. Santiago Garcia, who presented the research Monday at a cardiology conference in Washington, D.C., said a 38% reduction in heart attack patients at U.S. hospitals in 2020 prompted the creation of this patient registry.

“So the public health measures that were instituted to try to spread, to limit the spread of the disease, had unintended consequences,” Garcia said.

He explained that people were delaying medical care because of pandemic restrictions, and when they did come in, they were “much more sick.”

Santiago said the findings regarding mortality rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated patients shows the wide-ranging effects COVID-19 can have not just on the lungs but the entire cardiovascular system.

“And for those patients who have cardiovascular conditions and not a risk of having a heart attack, I think it’s an important message to get vaccinated,” Santiago said. “Because if you’re, you know, unlucky enough to have both COVID and a heart attack, you’re going to do much better with it.”