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Atrial Fibrillation after COVID-19 Vaccination
Troublesome Arrhythmia Threatens Young Persons
Last year I was called by a mother from Chicago about her 25-year-old son who had developed atrial fibrillation a few weeks after being forced into taking a COVID-19 vaccine by his employer. He was well down the familiar treatment road of drugs to control the rate (beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers), blood thinners to reduce the chances of stroke from a blood clot in the heart, and procedures including electrical cardioversion (shocking the heart with defibrillator paddles), and internal catheter ablation procedures. Like so many, her question was “could the vaccine have caused this problem?” While atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder, it has a distinct association with older age and is very unusual at age 25. Other risk factors include obesity, alcohol intake, hypertension, and forms of cardiomyopathies and valve disease. For this young man, none of these applied. We concluded that he was one of a legion of Americans who are “vaccine injured” now incurring hospitalizations, clinic appointments, and rising healthcare bills due to COVID-19 vaccination. A recent Zogby survey found that 15% of Americans have some new disease or medical problem from the vaccine and like this young man, regret ever having walked into the vaccine center for the unnecessary shot.[i] He had already had COVID-19 in the past which was like a mild head-cold. Kumar et al have recently reported atrial fibrillation from the safety databases after COVID-19 vaccination.[ii] They found 2611 atrial fibrillation events reported after COVID-19 vaccination, of which, 315 were new-onset through January 7, 2022. Of these, 1328 events were in males, and 1245 were in females. The vast majority were patients > 40 years old. Furthermore, 1133 were after the first dose, with 1214 following the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A similar proportion of events were reported both within 1 week of receiving the vaccine, and after 1 week of receiving it.
For comparison, 12 events of AF were reported after vaccination for the influenza virus (Quadrivalent), in the year 2021, as reported in the VAERS database. The authors make the epidemiological mistake of trying to calculate incidence rates from VAERS which is not valid since these data are spontaneously and incompletely reported after vaccination. To make matters worse, most doctors took the COVID-19 vaccine and have been widely denying any complication with the products as they psychologically deal with their own health problems and cope with the personal medical error in themselves. So on a more probable than not basis, the 25-year old could have avoided months of medical encounters, drugs, procedures, and risk of stroke if he would have declined the vaccine and faced the potential employment and economic consequences of remaining unvaccinated. This sad and unnecessary choice has been put in front of many but not all Americans and has resulted in anxiety, anger, remorse, and for some inflicted disability and death. Public health historians will ask “was it worth it?” For this young man and his worried mother, answer is clearly “no.”
[ii] Kumar A, Shariff M, Bhat V, DeSimone C, Deshmukh A. Atrial fibrillation after vaccination for COVID-19: analysis of the vaccine adverse event reporting system. J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2022 Oct;65(1):1-2. doi: 10.1007/s10840-022-01263-4. Epub 2022 Jun 8. PMID: 35674855; PMCID: PMC9175153.
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