To evaluate cardiac involvement in recovered COVID-19 patients using cardiac MRI.
Myocardial injury caused by COVID-19 was previously reported in hospitalized patients. It is unknown if there is sustained cardiac involvement after patients’ recovery from COVID-19.
Twenty-six recovered COVID-19 patients that reported cardiac symptoms and underwent MRI exams were retrospectively included. MRI protocols consisted of conventional sequences (cine, T2WI, LGE), and quantitative mapping sequences (T1, T2, and ECV mapping). Edema ratio and LGE were assessed in post-COVID-19 patients. Cardiac function, native T1/T2, and ECV were quantitatively evaluated and compared with controls.
Fifteen patients (58%) had abnormal MRI findings on conventional MRI sequences: myocardial edema was found in 14 (54%) patients and LGE was found in 8 (31%) patients. Decreased RV functional parameters including EF, CI, and SV/ BSA were found in patients with positive conventional MRI findings. Using quantitative mapping, global native T1, T2, and ECV were all found to be significantly elevated in patients with positive conventional MRI findings, compared to patients without positive findings and controls (median [IQR], native T1 1271ms [1243-1298] vs 1237ms [1216-1262] vs 1224ms [1217-1245]; mean [SD], T2 42.7ms [3.1] vs 38.1ms [2.4] vs 39.1ms [3.1]; median [IQR], 28.2% [24.8-36.2] vs 24.8% [23.1-25.4] vs 23.7% [22.2-25.2]; p=0.002, p <0.001, and p =0.002, respectively).
Cardiac involvement was found in a proportion of the recovered COVID-19 patients. MRI manifestation included myocardial edema, fibrosis, and impaired RV function. Attention should be paid to the possible myocardial involvement in recovered COVID-19 patients with cardiac symptoms.