Genetic risk, adherence to healthy lifestyle and acute cardiovascular and thromboembolic complications following SARS-COV-2 infection

Junqing Xie, Yuliang Feng, Danielle Newby, Bang Zheng, Qi Feng, Albert Prats-Uribe, Chunxiao Li, Nicholas J. Wareham, R. Paredes, Daniel Prieto-Alhambra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Current understanding of determinants for COVID-19-related cardiovascular and thromboembolic (CVE) complications primarily covers clinical aspects with limited knowledge on genetics and lifestyles. Here, we analysed a prospective cohort of 106,005 participants from UK Biobank with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. We show that higher polygenic risk scores, indicating individual's hereditary risk, were linearly associated with increased risks of post-COVID-19 atrial fibrillation (adjusted HR 1.52 [95% CI 1.44 to 1.60] per standard deviation increase), coronary artery disease (1.57 [1.46 to 1.69]), venous thromboembolism (1.33 [1.18 to 1.50]), and ischaemic stroke (1.27 [1.05 to 1.55]). These genetic associations are robust across genders, key clinical subgroups, and during Omicron waves. However, a prior composite healthier lifestyle was consistently associated with a reduction in all outcomes. Our findings highlight that host genetics and lifestyle independently affect the occurrence of CVE complications in the acute infection phrase, which can guide tailored management of COVID-19 patients and inform population lifestyle interventions to offset the elevated cardiovascular burden post-pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4659
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.Q.X. is funded through Jardine-Oxford Graduate Scholarship and a titular Oxford Clarendon Fund Scholarship. The research was partially supported by the Oxford National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre. DPA is funded through a NIHR Senior Research Fellowship (Grant number SRF-2018-11-ST2-004). The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Springer Nature Limited.


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