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Cardiac Pathology is Present in About Fifth of Patients 6 Months Post COVID-19

A recent study has revealed that cardiac pathology 6 months following moderate-to-severe coronavirus disease or COVID-19 is present in about a fifth of the patients.

Cardiac Pathology is Present in About Fifth of Patients 6 Months Post COVID-19
Photo: Cardiac Pathology | InStyleHealth

What is Cardiac Pathology?

Cardiac pathology is defined as a collection of diseases or conditions that involve the heart or blood vessels. A cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes coronary artery disease or CAD such as myocardial infarction and angina. There are other diseases such as heart arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, and congenital heart diseases.

Research covered 58 COVID-19 survivors with median age of 56 years old where 56% of them were men, who had undergone cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging or CMR where a median of 175 days following recovery. There are abnormal CMR findings included the presence of late gadolinium enhancement or LGE, which is indicative of myocardial scarring, or a left ventricular ejection fraction or LVEF.

Following the exclusion of 3 patients because of the unevaluable CMR sequences and underlying kidney disease, the experts found 12 patients who had abnormal CMR, generating a prevalence rate of 21%.

There were 3 patients who had major myocardial pathology: one with both myocardial scarring and LVEF reduction to 38%; another one without scarring but with LVEF decrease to 37%; and the last patient with uncertain evidence of LGE together with an LVEF decrease to 39%. Remaining 9 patients were deemed to have minor pathologies found.

Comparing the results with the control group, patients who developed CMR pathologies had comparable COVID-19 severity. Among the 11 patients who suffered severe COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation, only one patient developed CMR abnormalities.

Meanwhile, serum levels of cardiac troponin-T and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, though not only NT-proBNP remained relevant after multivariable adjustment.

According to the researchers, that they found no association between markers of disease severity during the index hospitalization and pathology on CMR after 6 months, suggesting that pre-existing subclinical myocardial disease may be more important than COVID-19 for the observed CMR pathology.

Source: Am Heart J 2021;doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2021.08.001

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