Cardiovascular Abnormalities 6 Months After Mild COVID-19 in Healthcare Workers

Dawn O'Shea

May 12, 2021

Mild COVID-19 is very unlikely to cause lasting damage to the structure or function of the heart, according to a study led by University College London researchers and funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Barts Charity.

Participants were recruited from the COVIDsortium, a three-hospital prospective study of 731 health care workers who underwent first-wave weekly symptom, polymerase chain reaction and serology assessment over four months, with seroconversion in 21.5 per cent (n=157).

At six months post-infection, 74 seropositive and 75 age-, sex- and ethnicity-matched seronegative control participants were recruited for cardiovascular phenotyping (comprehensive phantom-calibrated cardiovascular magnetic resonance and blood biomarkers). Analysis was blinded using objective artificial intelligence analytics where available.

A total of 149 participants (mean age, 37 years; range, 18-63 years; 58% women) were recruited.

Seropositive infections had been mild with case definition, non-case definition and asymptomatic disease in 45 (61%), 18 (24%) and 11 (15%), respectively, with one person hospitalised (for two days).

Between seropositive and seronegative groups, there were no differences in cardiac structure (left ventricular volumes, mass, atrial area), function (ejection fraction, global longitudinal shortening and aortic distensibility), tissue characterisation (T1, T2, extracellular volume fraction mapping and late gadolinium enhancement) or biomarkers (troponin and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide).

With abnormal defined by the 75 seronegatives (2 standard deviations from mean, e.g., ejection fraction <54%, septal T1 >1072 ms and septal T2 >52.4 ms), individuals had abnormalities including reduced ejection fraction (n=2, minimum 50%), T1 elevation (n=6), T2 elevation (n=9), late gadolinium enhancement (n=13, median 1%, max 5% of myocardium) and biomarker elevation (borderline troponin elevation in 4; all N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide normal). These were distributed equally between seropositive and seronegative individuals.

Presenting the findings in  JACC Cardiovascular Imaging , the authors said the results show screening in asymptomatic patients following non-hospitalised COVID-19 is not currently indicated.

JACC Cardio Imaging. Published online May 8, 2021. Full text


Joy G, Artico J, Kurdi H, Seraphim A, Lau C, Thornton GD, Oliveira MF, Adam RD, Aziminia N, Menacho K, Chacko L, Brown JT, Patel RK, Shiwani H, Bhuva A, Augusto JB, Andiapen M, McKnight A, Noursadeghi M, Pierce I, Evain T, Captur G, Davies RH, Greenwood JP, Fontana IM, Kellman P, Schelbert EB, Treibel TA, Manisty C, Moon JC; for the COVIDsortium Investigators. Prospective Case-Control Study of Cardiovascular Abnormalities 6 Months Following Mild COVID-19 in Healthcare Workers. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2021 May 8 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.04.011.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network


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