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Editor's e-Note
A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine indicates that individuals with COVID-19 who were admitted to an ICU were 10 times more likely than others to have heart rhythm disorders or heart attack. Researchers described 53 heart rhythm disturbances, 25 of which were atrial fibrillation.

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— Kate Jackson, editor
e-News Exclusive
A-Fib Patients at Greater Risk for COVID-19

Patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to an ICU were 10 times more likely than other hospitalized COVID-19 patients to suffer cardiac arrest or heart rhythm disorders, according to a new study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Researchers say the results suggest that cardiac arrests and arrhythmias suffered by some patients with COVID-19 are likely triggered by a severe, systemic form of the disease and are and not the sole consequence of the viral infection. The findings—which differ significantly from early reports that showed a high incidence of arrhythmias among all COVID-19 patients—provide more clarity about the role of the novel coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, and the disease it causes, COVID-19, in the development of arrhythmias, including irregular heart rate (atrial fibrillation), slow heart rhythms (bradyarrhythmia), or rapid heart rate that stops by itself within 30 seconds (nonsustained ventricular tachycardia).

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In this e-Newsletter
Other Geriatrics News
Raising the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Jane Brody reports in The New York Times about the link between exposure to toxic chemicals and increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The authors of a new book, Ending Parkinson’s Disease—three neurologists and a neuroscientist—refer to the increase in prevalence of the disease as a “man-made pandemic.”

Sweet News for Your Patients
Many if not most of your patients will appreciate this news: once-weekly consumption of chocolate lowers heart disease risk, Newsweek reports. A study published the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology involving 336,289 participants found that those who ate chocolate more than once a week had lower risk of coronary artery disease. Chocolate, says coauthor Chayakrit Krittanawong, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, seems to keep the heart vessels healthy.

Could There Be a Double Pandemic?
According to Ed Yong, writing in The Atlantic, it’s only a question of time before two pandemics strike at once. This situation, says Emily Mendenhall, PhD, MPH, a medical anthropologist at Georgetown University, is known as a syndemic. Yong paints a picture of a serious crisis and speculates on potential repercussions.

Are You Speaking Out?
Disinformation about COVID-19 is putting lives at risk. In an opinion piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, president emeritus at ECRI and a senior adjunct fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, writes about the need for all health care professionals to speak out against false information and speak out for science.
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