Clin Res Cardiol. 2021 Jan 22. doi: 10.1007/s00392-020-01800-z. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has caused considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide and cardiac involvement has been reported during infection. The short-term cardiac outcome in survivors of COVID-19 is not known.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the heart of patients who survived COVID-19 and to compare the cardiac outcome between patients who recovered from mild-to-moderate or severe illness.
METHODS: With use of ECG and echocardiography, we examined the heart of 105 patients who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and were consecutively recruited after hospital discharge while attending follow-up visits. Survivors of COVID-19 were compared with 105 matched controls. We also compared the cardiac outcome and lung ultrasound scan between COVID-19 patients who had mild-to-moderate or severe illness.
RESULTS: Cardiac data were collected a median of 41 days from the first detection of COVID-19. Symptoms were present in a low percentage of patients. In comparison with matched controls, no considerable structural or functional differences were observed in the heart of survivors of COVID-19. Lung ultrasound scan detected significantly greater residual pulmonary involvement in COVID-19 patients who had recovered from severe than mild-to-moderate illness. No significant differences were detected in ECG tracings nor were found in the left and right ventricular function of patients who had recovered from mild-to-moderate or severe illness.
CONCLUSIONS: In a short-term follow-up, no abnormalities were identified in the heart of survivors of COVID-19, nor cardiac differences were detected between patients who had different severity of illness. With the limitations of a cross-sectional study, these findings suggest that patients who recover from COVID-19 do not have considerable cardiac sequelae.