Sudden Adult Death Syndrome – An Epidemic of Pulmonary Hypertension?

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: March 28, 2023

Sudden adult death syndrome

Pulmonary hypertension is a state where the blood is pumped from the heart’s right side through the lungs, where it releases carbon dioxide and collects oxygen. The artery that carries this blood to the lung is known as the pulmonary artery.

High blood pressure can affect the pulmonary arteries, which supply the lungs. When this condition occurs, the walls of these arteries become stiffer and can’t expand properly.


  • shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, feet or abdomen

The condition worsens as one gets more active. This can prevent one from being able to perform regular physical activities.

This used to be a very uncommon condition….

Research has shown that people who have previously been infected with COVID-19 or have taken the covid vaccine may have an increased risk of developing autoantibody reactions to the virus. These antibodies can bind to the ACE-2 receptor, which is the entry point of the virus.

Source of claim: McMillan, Philip, et al. “COVID-19—a theory of autoimmunity against ACE-2 explained.” Frontiers in Immunology 12 (2021): 582166.

High levels of the ACE-2 receptor can damage the lining of the pulmonary artery. This can increase the risk of developing pulmonary hypertension.

The development of pulmonary hypertension can be gradual and take years or act more quickly in a number of months depending on other underlying health issues and conditions.

Sudden Adult Death Syndrome

It’s also believed that the increasing number of sudden deaths might be linked to the development of pulmonary hypertension.

Source: Demerouti, Eftychia A., et al. “Complications leading to sudden cardiac death in pulmonary arterial hypertension.” Respiratory Care 58.7 (2013): 1246-1254.

Unfortunately, diagnosing and treating pulmonary hypertension can be very challenging.

What Can be Done by the Medical Community?

  • Screen patients in high-risk groups for ACE-2 autoantibodies. This would include the usual risk factors for severe COVID-19, older patients (over 55 years), and long Covid sufferers. Important to note that this investigation is not standard for most clinicians.
  • If autoantibodies are present, do a baseline echocardiogram specifically looking at pulmonary pressures. They could need annual or 2 yearly monitoring.
  • Consider immunosuppression in some patients with high autoantibody titres.
  • Develop more options for treatment in anticipation of future greater

If you have had COVID-19 or have been vaccinated, please take proactive precautionary measures to ensure continued cardiovascular health down the road. See your cardiologist for regular checkups.

If you are in the Tampa, Florida area we invite you to come to see us for an appointment and screening. 813-975-2800.

Source material for article thanks to: Vejon COVID-19 Review  Dr. Philip McMillan


Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: 28/03/2023

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