Estimates of heart condition prevalence in the UK isn’t linked to vaccines

4 February 2022
What was claimed

Research has found that a massive amount of the population has a deadly heart condition after a year of Covid-19 vaccines.

Our verdict

We could find no evidence that aortic stenosis has anything to do with Covid-19 vaccines. There’s no evidence the vaccines cause the condition, which is due to a congenital heart defect, or damage to the heart that occurs with age.

A video being shared on Facebook makes a number of claims about a recent study into how common a heart condition is in the general population, but the central claim is that this has only come about due to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. This is not true.

The video’s speaker mentions two articles: one that appeared in the Guardian, headlined ‘About 300,000 in UK have potentially deadly aortic valve condition, study finds’, and another in the Mirror with the headline: ‘Hundreds suffer from silent heart condition that could kill 40,000 people in 5 years’.

In the eight minute long video, the speaker says: “So all of a sudden, after the last year of jib jabbing all and sundry many times we now get a study that has found that a massive amount of the population has a deadly heart condition. They didn't notice before but now they have just discovered it and released it.”

Both articles are reporting on a paper published in the journal Open Heart last month, which estimated how prevalent a severe version of a heart condition called aortic stenosis is in the UK population. Aortic stenosis may be caused by a congenital heart defect, but more commonly develops as someone ages due to damage accumulated in the aortic valve of the heart (which controls blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body). The research makes no mention of coronavirus or Covid-19 vaccines. 

The paper also looked at how many people might benefit from certain treatments. They did this by using data on the condition from other countries, including the US, to estimate how common the condition is in certain groups. They then took these estimates and applied them to other estimates for the size of these same groups in the UK population. 

There is no evidence that scientists “didn't notice before” that people were suffering from this heart condition, as the speaker in the video claims. The first line of the study’s introduction says: “Aortic stenosis (AS) is one of the most common acquired forms of heart valve disease requiring clinical intervention”, so it was already known this disease was an issue, and the study sought to estimate how many people might need treatment for it in the near future.

Later, the speaker in the video added: “Now it's funny how these findings have not been released until 2022. Bit late isn't it? Seeing that they say they started in 2019. I wonder if that is because they're talking s**** in regards to it being started in 2019 in order to cover themselves so they can say ‘oh look, look, it's nothing to do with the jab’”.

The researchers used 2019 population estimates, which were released in June 2020, to do their calculations. 2020 estimates weren’t released until June 2021. As the completed paper was received by the journal in July 2021, and researching and writing a paper takes some time, the 2019 estimates were likely the most up to date available when the study was done. We have asked the researchers to confirm why they used 2019 population estimates. 

There is no evidence to suggest that the Covid-19 vaccine can cause aortic stenosis. Looking at the latest government data for the Covid-19 vaccines in the UK, there appears to have been only one (non-fatal) case of reported “aortic valve stenosis” following Covid-19 vaccination, with the AstraZeneca vaccine. This doesn’t mean the vaccine caused it either, just that a case was reported afterwards.

Image courtesy of Robina Weermeijer, via Unsplash.

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