Even after COVID-19 patients beat the virus and recover, they may have lasting effects on their heart health, reveals a new study.
More than three-quarters of recently-recovered COVID-19 patients had heart muscle problems show up during cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging tests, German doctors have stated in JAMA Cardiology study. CMR looks at the structural changes in the heart.
In the study, published on July 27, the researchers observed a cohort of 100 German patients who had recently recovered from the novel coronavirus infection. Of these, 53 percent were men and the rest were women, and the median age was 49 (45-53) years.
As per the findings, 78 percent of patients who had recovered showed some signs of cardiac effects while in 60 percent of patients, there were signs of ongoing myocardial (heart muscle) inflammation.
“In this study of a cohort of German patients recently recovered from COVID-19 infection, CMR revealed cardiac involvement in 78 percent patients and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60 percent, independent of pre-existing conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and time from the original diagnosis,” the researchers said.
They further said that, as per their knowledge, this was the first prospective report on a cohort of unselected patients with a recent COVID-19 infection identified from a local testing center who voluntarily underwent evaluation for cardiac involvement with CMR.
Among the cohort, 33 patients required hospitalisation while others recovered at home. The home recoveries were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. There was no difference in the incidence of cardiac changes in the two groups.
“Our findings demonstrate that participants with a relative paucity of preexisting cardiovascular condition and with mostly home-based recovery had frequent cardiac inflammatory involvement, which was similar to the hospitalized subgroup with regards to severity and extent, the researchers stated in the report.
The results of the study provide important insights into the prevalence of cardiovascular involvement in the early convalescent stage, they mentioned.
These findings indicate the need for the ongoing investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19, suggested the group of German doctors.