COVID-19 Myocardial Pathology Evaluated Through scrEening Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (COMPETE CMR)

medRxiv. 2020 Sep 2:2020.08.31.20185140. doi: 10.1101/2020.08.31.20185140. Preprint.


Background Myocarditis is a leading cause of sudden cardiac death among competitive athletes and may occur without antecedent symptoms. COVID-19-associated myocarditis has been well-described, but the prevalence of myocardial inflammation and fibrosis in young athletes after COVID-19 infection is unknown. Objectives This study sought to evaluate the prevalence and extent of cardiovascular involvement in collegiate athletes that had recently recovered from COVID-19. Methods We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of collegiate varsity athletes with prior COVID-19 infection, all of whom underwent cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) prior to resumption of competitive sports in August 2020. Results Twenty-two collegiate athletes with prior COVID-19 infection underwent CMR. The median time from SARS-CoV-2 infection to CMR was 52 days. The mean age was 20.2 years. Athletes represented 8 different varsity sports. This cohort was compared to 22 healthy controls and 22 tactical athlete controls. Most athletes experienced mild illness (N=17, 77%), while the remainder (23%) were asymptomatic. No athletes had abnormal troponin I, electrocardiograms, or LVEF < 50% on echocardiography. Late gadolinium enhancement was found in 9% of collegiate athletes and one athlete (5%) met formal criteria for myocarditis. Conclusions Our study suggests that the prevalence of myocardial inflammation or fibrosis after an asymptomatic or mild course of ambulatory COVID-19 among competitive athletes is modest (9%), but would be missed by ECG, Ti, and strain echocardiography. Future investigation is necessary to further phenotype cardiovascular manifestations of COVID-19 in order to better counsel athletes on return to sports participation.

PMID:32908996 | PMC:PMC7480048 | DOI:10.1101/2020.08.31.20185140