Short-term cardiac outcome in survivors of COVID-19: a systematic study after hospital discharge

Leonardo A Sechi, Gianluca Colussi, Luca Bulfone, Gabriele Brosolo, Andrea Da Porto, Maddalena Peghin, Vincenzo Patruno, Carlo Tascini, Cristiana Catena
Clinical Research in Cardiology: Official Journal of the German Cardiac Society 2021 January 22

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.

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