Bradyarrhythmia After Remdesivir Administration in SARS-CoV-2: A Review of Literature and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology

Safa Al-Jammali, Rana Al-Zakhari, Nicholas Sheets, Arun Mahtani, Veronika Stefanishina, Nidal Isber


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has required timely and informed decisions about treatment recommendations for clinical practice. One such drug used for the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is remdesivir (RDV), and several cardiac side effects have been reported including bradyarrhythmia (e.g., transient sinus bradycardia, symptomatic sinus bradycardia, complete atrioventricular (AV) block). The current study aimed to explore the association between RDV treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection and the risk of bradyarrhythmia by presenting a review and meta-analysis of available published studies.

Methods: We presented a review of published literature and meta-analysis of observational studies (MOOSE). A narrative summary of RDV and bradyarrhythmia in COVID-19 infection and pooled analysis of observational studies that meet inclusion criteria was included. Studies included were published between January 2020 and December 2021 (identified through PubMed and ScienceDirect) and examined the association between treatment with RDV in SARS-CoV-2 infection and the risk of bradyarrhythmia.

Results: Three studies (two retrospective cohort studies and one prospective cohort study) met inclusion criteria for pooled meta-analysis of bradyarrhythmia and RDV therapy in COVID-19 patients. Treatment with RDV was associated with increased risk of sinus bradycardia when compared to controls (odds ratio 3.27 (95% confidence interval 1.90 - 5.63)). In the pooled analysis, the incidence of bradycardia in those that received RDV was 34.07% vs. 18.13% among controls. Thirteen case reports, three case series, and three disproportionality analyses were identified in review of the literature.

Conclusion: Data from real-world observational studies suggest that treating COVID-19 patients with RDV may predispose the development of bradyarrhythmia. The importance of this observation is of uncertain clinical significance as some observational studies have reported more favorable outcomes among patients who experience bradycardia after RDV therapy. The current study is limited by the small number of studies that could be meaningfully pooled and more well-designed cohort studies are needed to explore this association.

Cardiol Res. 2022;13(3):135-143


Meta-analysis; Bradyarrhythmia; Sinus bradycardia; Remdesivir: COVID-19; Observational studies

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