Nearly one-quarter of adults age 50 or older hospitalized with RSV experienced an acute cardiac event, including those with no previous cardiovascular disease.

RT’s Three Key Takeaways

  1. Underappreciated Severity of RSV in Adults: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been historically underestimated in its severity among adults, despite causing significant morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs, particularly in high-risk groups like older adults with chronic medical conditions.
  2. Prevalence of Acute Cardiac Events: Among hospitalized adults aged 50 years or older with RSV infection, nearly one-quarter experience acute cardiac events, with acute heart failure being the most common. These events occur more frequently in older age groups and those with underlying cardiovascular disease.
  3. Association with Severe Outcomes: Hospitalized patients with RSV infection who experience acute cardiac events have a significantly higher risk of severe outcomes, such as ICU admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, and in-hospital death, compared to those without such events, highlighting the need for preventive measures like RSV vaccination in this population.

According to new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, cardiac events are prevalent in older adults hospitalized with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, including those with no previous cardiovascular disease.

Researchers analyzed a cross-sectional study of 6,248 hospitalized adults over age 50 with respiratory syncytial virus across five RSV seasons.

Results showed that nearly one-quarter (22%) experienced an acute cardiac event (most frequently acute heart failure, 16%), including 1-in-12 adults (8.5%) with no documented underlying cardiovascular disease.

The risk of severe outcomes was nearly twice as high in patients with acute cardiac events compared with patients who did not experience an acute cardiac event.

Acute cardiac events occurred more often among those with (33%) vs without (9%) underlying cardiovascular disease and were associated with nearly twice the risk of severe outcomes.

“Acute cardiac events contribute substantially to the burden of RSV disease; whether RSV vaccination can prevent these complications is an important question as the impact of these vaccines is evaluated,” the researchers concluded.

Read the full study at


  1. Woodruff R, et al. Acute Cardiac Events in Hospitalized Older Adults With Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection. JAMA Intern Med. 2024 Apr 15. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2024.0212