Friday, January 25, 2013

The Arrythmogenic Potential of Pneumonia

Here is an intriguing read that I discovered while flipping through the American Journal of Medicine.The study focused on cardiac arrhythmias in patients hospitalized with pneumonia.

The investigators conducted a national cohort study using Department of Veterans Affairs administrative data including patients aged ≥65 years hospitalized with pneumonia . The arrhythmias included atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation, cardiac arrest, and symptomatic bradycardia. 

Of the 32,689 patients examined, 3919 (12%) had a new diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia within 90 days of admission. Atrial fibrillation was the most common arrhythmia identified. Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia was associated with increasing age, history of congestive heart failure, and a need for mechanical ventilation or vasopressors. 

These findings suggest that 10% of elderly patients hospitalized with pneumonia had a new onset arrhythmia within 90 days. The study did not determine if the arrhythmias were associated with an increased mortality.
So in the end, the impact of these arrhythmias on patients with pneumonia is unknown. Interventions and therapies to minimize pneumonia associated arrythmias also remain undefined.
Infections and their complications continue to vex us.

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