Autopsy findings in cases of fatal COVID-19 vaccine-induced myocarditis

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COVID-19 vaccines have been linked to myocarditis, which, in some circumstances, can be fatal. This systematic review aims to investigate potential causal links between COVID-19 vaccines and death from myocarditis using post-mortem analysis. We performed a systematic review of all published autopsy reports involving COVID-19 vaccination-induced myocarditis through 3 July 2023. All autopsy studies that include COVID-19 vaccine-induced myocarditis as a possible cause of death were included. Causality in each case was assessed by three independent physicians with cardiac pathology experience and expertise. We initially identified 1691 studies and, after screening for our inclusion criteria, included 14 papers that contained 28 autopsy cases. The cardiovascular system was the only organ system affected in 26 cases. In two cases, myocarditis was characterized as a consequence from multisystem inflammatory syndrome. The mean age of death was 44.4 years old. The mean and median number of days from last COVID-19 vaccination until death were 6.2 and 3 days, respectively. We established that all 28 deaths were most likely causally linked to COVID-19 vaccination by independent review of the clinical information presented in each paper. The temporal relationship, internal and external consistency seen among cases in this review with known COVID-19 vaccine-induced myocarditis, its pathobiological mechanisms, and related excess death, complemented with autopsy confirmation, independent adjudication, and application of the Bradford Hill criteria to the overall epidemiology of vaccine myocarditis, suggests that there is a high likelihood of a causal link between COVID-19 vaccines and death from myocarditis.




Hulscher, N., Hodkinson, R., Makis, W., & McCullough, P. A. (2024). Autopsy findings in cases of fatal COVID-19 vaccine-induced myocarditis. ESC Heart Failure. John Wiley and Sons Inc.

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