- Among competitive athletes, 15% have cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) findings suggestive of myocarditis after they recover from COVID-19.
- Another 30.8% have evidence of previous myocardial injury.
Why this matters
- Competitive athletes with myocarditis are at risk for sudden cardiac death.
- These authors note that the current expert consensus for athletes recovering from COVID-19 advises cardiac testing only in those with lingering symptoms after 2 weeks.
- These and other similar findings, they say, call this recommendation into question.
- The participants were 26 athletes playing competitive college sports, 15 of them male.
- None were hospitalized or treated with any antivirals specific to COVID-19.
- 26.9% reported mild symptoms, and the others were asymptomatic.
- Most parameters were normal on ECG and CMR.
- None of them had increased troponin I.
- 4 of the male athletes, however, had CMR findings suggesting myocarditis (edema per increased T2 signal; signs of myocardial injury).
- 2 of these 4 also had mild related symptoms.
- 12 others had late gadolinium enhancement in an average of 2 segments, and 8 of these had this without increased T2 signal, suggesting that they had experienced previous myocardial injury.
- Participants were athletes at The Ohio State University who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during June-August 2020.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- No baseline imaging, and imaging timing varied.
- Athletic adaptation is an alternative explanation for some abnormalities.