Nearly a Quarter of Hospitalized RSV Patients Experience a Cardiac Event


A study points to inpatients who were 50 years and older with the respiratory illness suffering from heart-related complications with the largest number of them having acute heart failure. 

illustration of man on oxygen; Illustration Credit: Bing Copilot

Illustration Credit: Bing Copilot

In a large, long-term study, 22% of patients who were hospitalized for RSV experienced a cardiac event, with the most frequent being acute heart failure at 16%. This was in a population of adults 50 years and older and saw 1 in 12 adults with no underlying cardiovascular disease that was previously documented.1

The findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

This was a cross-sectional study done over 5 RSV seasons, and the investigators reported that the risk of severe outcomes was nearly twice as high in patients with acute cardiac events compared with patients who did not experience an acute cardiac event.1

It is estimated that 60,000-160,000 older adults in the United States are hospitalized due to RSV infection and 6000-10,000 die annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2

Learn more about RSV vaccination for this population with our new video series.

What You Need to Know

In the study, 22% of hospitalized patients aged 50 and older with RSV experienced a cardiac event.

The study found that patients who experienced acute cardiac events during their RSV-related hospitalization had nearly twice the risk of severe outcomes compared to those who did not experience such events.

With the recent FDA approval of the Moderna RSV vaccine, there are now 3 immunizations available for seniors in the US.

Study Parameters, Other Takeaways
The investigators pointed out that in previous studies, cardiac complications were shown to occur in 14% to 22% of older adults but this data often came from limited sample-sized or single-center studies.

In this study, 6248 inpatients were from multiple states with varying age groups, both male and females, and different races and ethnicities were well-represented within the study.

The investigators included patients who were defined as having an acute cardiac event if they had an ICD-9-CM or ICD-10-CM primary or secondary discharge code indicative of an acute cardiac event or heart failure, myocardial infarction, or myocarditis listed as new diagnoses or exacerbations of preexisting diagnoses in the discharge summary.

“The risk of severe outcomes was nearly twice as high in patients with acute cardiac events compared with patients who did not experience an acute cardiac event,” the investigators wrote. “Acute cardiac events contribute substantially to the burden of RSV disease; whether RSV vaccination can prevent these complications is an important question as the impact of these vaccines is evaluated.”

RSV Vaccination
In thinking about prospective prevention, the recent FDA approval of the Moderna RSV vaccine for seniors means there are now 3 immunizations available for people in the US. GSK and Pfizer had vaccines approved last year. Just last week, the FDA approved an expanded label for the GSK vaccine to include people 50 years of age and older, making it the first one for this age group.

1. Woodruff RC, Melgar M, Pham H, et al. Acute Cardiac Events in Hospitalized Older Adults With Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection. JAMA Intern Med. 2024;184(6):602-611. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2024.0212
2. Respiratory Viruses and Older Adults. CDC. Last reviewed March 1, 2024. Accessed June 12, 2024.

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