- Almost 8 in 10 patients who have “recovered” from COVID-19 have cardiac involvement on cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR).
- 60% showed signs of myocardial inflammation in this German cohort study.
- Signs seen regardless of preexisting conditions, COVID-19 severity, or course.
Why this matters
- Patients with a history of COVID-19 may need close cardiovascular follow-up.
- Editorial notes findings in accompanying autopsy study, with evidence of the virus in the heart in 24/39 patients, along with evidence of viral replication.
- Editorial: accumulating results “raise a new and very evident concern that cardiomyopathy and heart failure related to COVID-19 may potentially evolve as the natural history of this infection becomes clearer.”
- Among 100 recovered patients (47% female; median age, 49 years; interquartile range, 45-53 years):
- 33% had been hospitalized.
- Only 1 had been treated with hydrochloroquine, which was discontinued.
- At time of CMR, 17% had chest pain, 20% had palpitations, 36% had dyspnea.
- 71% had detectable high-sensitivity troponin T, and 5% had significantly elevated values.
- On CMR, 78% had abnormal cardiac findings.
- Most informative CMR findings for COVID-19 cardiac pathology were increased native T1 and T2.
- Prospective observational cohort study, University Hospital Frankfurt COVID-19 Registry, April-June 2020.
- For some analyses, patients were age- and sex-matched to healthy volunteers (n=50) and risk-factor-matched patients (n=57).
- Funding: German Ministry of Education and Research; others.
- No pediatric patients.
- No truly asymptomatic cases.
- Outcomes pending.