According to a review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can increase risk of cardiovascular complications for individuals with and without preexisting cardiovascular disease.

Approximately one in five adults can develop cardiovascular complications, including congestive heart failure and MI, following hospitalization for confirmed RSV infection, say experts.

Senior author Helen Keipp Talbot, MD also noted that cardiovascular complications can occur after RSV, even among those without preexisting heart disease. In six published papers to date, cardiovascular complications occurred in 13.0% to 22.0% of those who develop RSV.

“If you get sick from the virus, it can tip the heart disease over,” said Talbot. “You may have trouble breathing, and this might cause your heart to work harder, and this might lead to an exacerbation of heart failure or heart attack.”