Risk for COVID-19-Linked Endocarditis Up in Patients With Opioid, Cocaine Use Disorders

Patients with opioid use disorder or cocaine use disorder have an increased risk for endocarditis associated with COVID-19.

HealthDay News — Patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) or cocaine use disorder (CocaineUD) have an increased risk for endocarditis associated with COVID-19, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in Molecular Psychiatry.

Lindsey Wang, from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of 736,502 patients with a diagnosis of OUD and 379,623 with CocaineUD to examine the risk for endocarditis associated with COVID-19.

The researchers found that from 2011 to 2022, the incidence rate of endocarditis among patients with OUD or CocaineUD increased significantly, with acceleration seen during 2021 to 2022. COVID-19 was associated with an increased risk for a new diagnosis of endocarditis among patients with OUD and CocaineUD. An increased risk for a new diagnosis of endocarditis was seen in association with hospitalization within two weeks following COVID-19 infection. Significant racial and ethnic differences were seen in the risk for COVID-19-associated endocarditis, with a lower risk observed in Black versus White patients and in Hispanic versus non-Hispanic patients. For patients with OUD or CocaineUD, the 180-day hospitalization risk following endocarditis was 67.5 and 58.7 percent for patients with COVID-19 and matched patients without COVID-19, respectively. Following a new diagnosis of endocarditis, the 180-day mortality risk was 9.2 and 8.0 percent for patients with and without COVID-19, respectively.

“As the scientific understanding of long COVID develops, we can now include endocarditis as one long-term effect on key organ systems for people who inject drugs,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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