Cardiac Arrest In Young People: Is There A COVID-19 Connection?

The recent incident in Gujarat's Amreli, where Sakshi Rajosara, 15, suffered a suspected cardiac arrest moments before entering an examination hall, has brought to light a concerning tendency: the rising cases of sudden cardiac arrest among teenagers.

Oshi Saxena
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Women and Heart Attack

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The recent incident in Gujarat's Amreli, where Sakshi Rajosara, 15, suffered a suspected cardiac arrest moments before entering an examination hall, has brought to light a concerning tendency: the rising cases of sudden cardiac arrest among teenagers. Rajosara's tragedy is just one of many, as several young lives in Gujarat have been tragically cut short by heart problems, some of them during the joyous Navratri 'garba' activities.


The article dives into the multiple factors contributing to this alarming trend and explores the link between COVID-19 and heart health.

The Severe Incidents

Sakshi Rajosara, a ninth-grade student with a promising future, met an untimely demise when she suddenly collapsed in her classroom at the Shantaba Gajera school in Jasdon Taluka, Rajkot. She was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared dead upon arrival. Her body was sent for a postmortem examination to determine the exact cause of her death. Tragically, Sakshi's case is not an isolated one.

In a separate incident in Vadodara in 2022, a 13-year-old boy named Vaibhav Soni lost his life due to a 'suspected cardiac arrest.' He had complained of chest pain and collapsed while riding his bicycle in his residential colony. Despite being taken to a private hospital, he was declared dead upon arrival. His sudden demise left the entire residential colony in deep shock and mourning, as he had been playing garba during the ongoing Navratri festivities and appeared completely normal until his sudden collapse.

A 15-year-old boy playing in school in Greater Noida and a 16-year-old in Telangana fell victim to these sudden and shocking cardiac events. While heart-related issues have long been associated with older individuals, the rising incidence of such cases among youngsters is a concerning trend. 

Understanding the Link Between COVID-19 and Heart Health


The COVID-19 pandemic, which emerged in late 2019, has impacted people of all ages, with growing concerns about its impact on the cardiovascular system. Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a noticeable and concerning rise in heart attack deaths across all age groups. A study conducted in Los Angeles in September 2022 revealed a shocking 29.9% relative increase in heart attack deaths among individuals aged 25 to 44 during the first two years of the pandemic.

This phenomenon is particularly problematic because young people are typically not expected to succumb to heart attacks. Some theories suggest that COVID-19's impact on the cardiovascular system may be linked to an excessive immune system response, which is stronger in younger individuals.

The Ongoing Risk: Post-COVID Heart Issues

COVID-19 survivors continue to face a substantial risk of developing heart conditions, even a year after the infection.  Studies have shown that approximately 4% of people who have had COVID-19 will develop heart problems, such as irregular heartbeats, heart failure, inflammation, or even heart attacks. The body's inflammatory response to the virus can cause damage to the heart, potentially leading to reduced pumping ability, abnormal heart rhythms, or the worsening of existing arrhythmias.

Recent research has also pointed to the connection between COVID-19 and heart damage, with findings suggesting that the inflammatory immune response to the infection can cause fatal, irregular heartbeats. This impact is more likely in individuals who were not vaccinated. 

COVID-19 can also harm heart cells, as indicated by studies that suggest a link between the virus and the presence of troponin, a protein linked to heart muscle injury or heart attack.COVID-19 can cause the formation of blood clots, which can harm the heart. In severe circumstances, the virus may damage blood vessels and increase blood clotting. Individuals who have a long COVID-19 infection or multiple COVID-19 infections are more likely to have heart problems.


Causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Among Youngsters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 2,000 young, seemingly healthy people under the age of 25 in the United States die each year due to sudden cardiac arrest. It is considered a leading cause of death in young athletes, but it can affect young people who are not involved in organized sports. The causes of cardiac arrest vary depending on a person's age.

In individuals over 35, most cases of cardiac arrest are due to coronary artery disease. However, in young people, the causes may differ. "Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy," an inherited condition where the heart's ventricles thicken, can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, especially during exercise. Other causes in young individuals may include primary arrhythmias, abnormalities in the heart's electrical activity, and myocarditis, often triggered by viral infections.

The surge in sudden cardiac arrests among young people is a concerning phenomenon that warrants immediate attention. While the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly played a role in this increase, other factors, including genetic conditions and lifestyle choices, cannot be ignored. It's a call to action that we must heed to prevent more tragic losses like that of Sakshi Rajosara and Vaibhav Soni

Suggested reading: Pregnant Malayalam Actor Dr Priya, 35, Dies Of Cardiac Arrest; Baby Survives

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