Persistent COVID-19 symptoms don't necessarily translate to heart injury

By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer

November 24, 2021 --

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A team of researchers in Germany has found that patients who have chronic "COVID-19 syndrome" -- a condition that manifests in fatigue and labored breathing -- do not necessarily have myocardial injury and inflammation, according to study results to be presented on Monday afternoon.

Injury to the heart due to COVID-19 has been studied, but whether it is linked to chronic COVID-19 symptoms has remained unclear, a group led by presenter Dr. Dmitrij Kravchenko of the University Hospital Bonn in Germany wrote in a study abstract.

The group conducted research that included 41 participants without any identified cardiac or pulmonary disease before contracting COVID-19 but who had persistent fatigue and dyspnea after recovering from the illness; they were compared with 42 healthy controls, with both groups undergoing cardiac MRI. The patients with chronic COVID-19 symptoms had not been hospitalized at any point in the course of their disease.

Kravchenko and colleagues found that people with chronic COVID-19 syndrome did not show myocardial injury or inflammation on cardiac MRI and that, in fact, their exam findings were comparable to the healthy counterparts.

The results suggest that persistent COVID-19 after-effects don't necessarily translate into heart injury, the group concluded.

"Individuals without hospitalization for COVID-19 and with chronic COVID-19 syndrome did not demonstrate signs of active myocardial injury or inflammation on cardiac MRI," the team wrote.


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