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      Minor Myocardial Scars in Association with Cardiopulmonary Function after COVID-19


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          Myocardial scars detected by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging after COVID-19 have caused concerns regarding potential long-term cardiovascular consequences.


          The objective of this study was to investigate cardiopulmonary functioning in patients with versus without COVID-19-related myocardial scars.


          In this prospective cohort study, CMR was performed approximately 6 months after moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Before (∼3 months post-COVID-19) and after (∼12 months post-COVID-19) the CMR, patients underwent extensive cardiopulmonary testing with cardiopulmonary exercise tests, 24-h ECG, and echocardiography. We excluded participants with overt heart failure.


          Post-COVID-19 CMR was available in 49 patients with cardiopulmonary tests at 3 and 12 months after the index hospitalization. Nine (18%) patients had small late gadolinium enhancement-detected myocardial scars. Patients with myocardial scars were older (63.2 ± 13.2 vs. 56.2 ± 13.2 years) and more frequently men (89% vs. 55%) compared to those without scars. Cardiorespiratory fitness was similar in patients with and without scars, i.e., peak oxygen uptake: 82.1 ± 11.5% versus 76.3 ± 22.5% of predicted, respectively ( p = 0.46). The prevalence of ventricular premature contractions and arrhythmias was low and not different by the presence of myocardial scar. Cardiac structure and function assessed by echocardiography were similar between the groups, except for a tendency of greater left ventricular mass in those with scars (75 ± 20 vs. 62 ± 14, p = 0.02 and p = 0.08 after adjusting for age and sex). There were no significant associations between myocardial scar and longitudinal changes in cardiopulmonary function from 3 to 12 months.


          Our findings imply that the presence of minor myocardial scars has limited clinical significance with respect to cardiopulmonary function after COVID-19.

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          Outcomes of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients Recently Recovered From Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

          Question What are the cardiovascular effects in unselected patients with recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Findings In this cohort study including 100 patients recently recovered from COVID-19 identified from a COVID-19 test center, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging revealed cardiac involvement in 78 patients (78%) and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60 patients (60%), which was independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and the time from the original diagnosis. Meaning These findings indicate the need for ongoing investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19. This cohort study evaluates the presence of myocardial injury in unselected patients recently recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Importance Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to cause considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. Case reports of hospitalized patients suggest that COVID-19 prominently affects the cardiovascular system, but the overall impact remains unknown. Objective To evaluate the presence of myocardial injury in unselected patients recently recovered from COVID-19 illness. Design, Setting, and Participants In this prospective observational cohort study, 100 patients recently recovered from COVID-19 illness were identified from the University Hospital Frankfurt COVID-19 Registry between April and June 2020. Exposure Recent recovery from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, as determined by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction on swab test of the upper respiratory tract. Main Outcomes and Measures Demographic characteristics, cardiac blood markers, and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging were obtained. Comparisons were made with age-matched and sex-matched control groups of healthy volunteers (n = 50) and risk factor–matched patients (n = 57). Results Of the 100 included patients, 53 (53%) were male, and the mean (SD) age was 49 (14) years. The median (IQR) time interval between COVID-19 diagnosis and CMR was 71 (64-92) days. Of the 100 patients recently recovered from COVID-19, 67 (67%) recovered at home, while 33 (33%) required hospitalization. At the time of CMR, high-sensitivity troponin T (hsTnT) was detectable (greater than 3 pg/mL) in 71 patients recently recovered from COVID-19 (71%) and significantly elevated (greater than 13.9 pg/mL) in 5 patients (5%). Compared with healthy controls and risk factor–matched controls, patients recently recovered from COVID-19 had lower left ventricular ejection fraction, higher left ventricle volumes, and raised native T1 and T2. A total of 78 patients recently recovered from COVID-19 (78%) had abnormal CMR findings, including raised myocardial native T1 (n = 73), raised myocardial native T2 (n = 60), myocardial late gadolinium enhancement (n = 32), or pericardial enhancement (n = 22). There was a small but significant difference between patients who recovered at home vs in the hospital for native T1 mapping (median [IQR], 1119 [1092-1150] ms vs 1141 [1121-1175] ms; P  = .008) and hsTnT (4.2 [3.0-5.9] pg/dL vs 6.3 [3.4-7.9] pg/dL; P  = .002) but not for native T2 mapping. None of these measures were correlated with time from COVID-19 diagnosis (native T1: r  = 0.07; P  = .47; native T2: r  = 0.14; P  = .15; hsTnT: r  = −0.07; P  = .50). High-sensitivity troponin T was significantly correlated with native T1 mapping ( r  = 0.33; P  < .001) and native T2 mapping ( r  = 0.18; P  = .01). Endomyocardial biopsy in patients with severe findings revealed active lymphocytic inflammation. Native T1 and T2 were the measures with the best discriminatory ability to detect COVID-19–related myocardial pathology. Conclusions and Relevance In this study of a cohort of German patients recently recovered from COVID-19 infection, CMR revealed cardiac involvement in 78 patients (78%) and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60 patients (60%), independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and time from the original diagnosis. These findings indicate the need for ongoing investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19.
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            Patterns of myocardial injury in recovered troponin-positive COVID-19 patients assessed by cardiovascular magnetic resonance

            Abstract Background Troponin elevation is common in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, but underlying aetiologies are ill-defined. We used multi-parametric cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) to assess myocardial injury in recovered COVID-19 patients. Methods and results One hundred and forty-eight patients (64 ± 12 years, 70% male) with severe COVID-19 infection [all requiring hospital admission, 48 (32%) requiring ventilatory support] and troponin elevation discharged from six hospitals underwent convalescent CMR (including adenosine stress perfusion if indicated) at median 68 days. Left ventricular (LV) function was normal in 89% (ejection fraction 67% ± 11%). Late gadolinium enhancement and/or ischaemia was found in 54% (80/148). This comprised myocarditis-like scar in 26% (39/148), infarction and/or ischaemia in 22% (32/148) and dual pathology in 6% (9/148). Myocarditis-like injury was limited to three or less myocardial segments in 88% (35/40) of cases with no associated LV dysfunction; of these, 30% had active myocarditis. Myocardial infarction was found in 19% (28/148) and inducible ischaemia in 26% (20/76) of those undergoing stress perfusion (including 7 with both infarction and ischaemia). Of patients with ischaemic injury pattern, 66% (27/41) had no past history of coronary disease. There was no evidence of diffuse fibrosis or oedema in the remote myocardium (T1: COVID-19 patients 1033 ± 41 ms vs. matched controls 1028 ± 35 ms; T2: COVID-19 46 ± 3 ms vs. matched controls 47 ± 3 ms). Conclusions During convalescence after severe COVID-19 infection with troponin elevation, myocarditis-like injury can be encountered, with limited extent and minimal functional consequence. In a proportion of patients, there is evidence of possible ongoing localized inflammation. A quarter of patients had ischaemic heart disease, of which two-thirds had no previous history. Whether these observed findings represent pre-existing clinically silent disease or de novo COVID-19-related changes remain undetermined. Diffuse oedema or fibrosis was not detected.
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              Dyspnoea, lung function and CT findings three months after hospital admission for COVID-19

              The long-term pulmonary outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are unknown. We aimed to describe self-reported dyspnoea, quality of life, pulmonary function, and chest CT findings three months following hospital admission for COVID-19. We hypothesised outcomes to be inferior for patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU), compared with non-ICU patients. Discharged COVID-19-patients from six Norwegian hospitals were consecutively enrolled in a prospective cohort study. The current report describes the first 103 participants, including 15 ICU patients. Modified Medical Research Council dyspnoea scale (mMRC), EuroQol Group's Questionnaire, spirometry, diffusion capacity (DLCO), six-minute walk test, pulse oximetry, and low-dose CT scan were performed three months after discharge. mMRC was >0 in 54% and >1 in 19% of the participants. The median (25th–75th percentile) forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in one second were 94% (76, 121) and 92% (84, 106) of predicted, respectively. DLCO was below the lower limit of normal in 24%. Ground-glass opacities (GGO) with >10% distribution in ≥1 of 4 pulmonary zones were present in 25%, while 19% had parenchymal bands on chest CT. ICU survivors had similar dyspnoea scores and pulmonary function as non-ICU patients, but higher prevalence of GGO (adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 4.2 [1.1, 15.6]) and performance in lower usual activities. Three months after admission for COVID-19, one fourth of the participants had chest CT opacities and reduced diffusion capacity. Admission to ICU was associated with pathological CT findings. This was not reflected in increased dyspnoea or impaired lung function.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG (Basel, Switzerland )
                12 May 2023
                August 2023
                : 148
                : 4
                : 300-306
                [a ]Division of Medicine, Department of Cardiology, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway
                [b ]K.G. Jebsen Center for Cardiac Biomarkers, Institute for Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
                [c ]Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway
                [d ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway
                [e ]Pulmonary Department, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway
                [f ]Institute for Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
                [g ]Health Services Research Unit, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway
                [h ]Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Peder L. Myhre, p.l.myhre@ 123456medisin.uio.no
                © 2023 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

                This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY) ( http://www.karger.com/Services/OpenAccessLicense). Usage, derivative works and distribution are permitted provided that proper credit is given to the author and the original publisher.

                : 19 December 2022
                : 11 April 2023
                : 2023
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 12, Pages: 7
                This study received funding from Akershus University Hospital and LHL Hospital Gardermoen (The National Association for Heart, Lung diseases and the Norwegian Health Association).
                Cardiovascular Imaging: Short Communication

                covid-19,myocardial scar,cardiopulmonary performance


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