Myocarditis can cause sudden cardiac death among athletes, and previous research has suggested that athletes who have recovered from COVID-19 may have long-term cardiac effects that can be identified on MRI, the group noted in its abstract. But whether cardiac MRI should be regularly used in athletes who have recovered from COVID-19 before they return to play remains a question.
Trabzonlu's team investigated the prevalence of problematic cardiac MRI findings (such as acute myocarditis or pericarditis) in 112 Division I college athletes who underwent the exam between March 2020 and April 2021. The mean age of the athletes was 20 years.
The researchers found that only 1.8% of the athletes showed acute myocarditis and only 0.9% showed pericarditis on cardiac MRI, leading them to conclude that "the routine use of cardiac MRI as a screening tool in student athletes recovered from COVID-19 infection is controversial as the prevalence among this population is low."