A Pragmatic Study of Cardiovascular Disease During Long-Term COVID-19.

Publication date: Mar 26, 2024

Many patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have persistent cardiovascular symptoms but whether this represents a true cardiac process is unclear. This study assessed whether symptoms associated with long COVID among patients referred for cardiovascular evaluation are associated with objective abnormalities on cardiac testing to explain their clinical presentation. A retrospective cohort study of 40,462 unique patients diagnosed with COVID-19 at our tertiary referral was conducted and identified 363 patients with persistent cardiovascular symptoms a minimum of 4 weeks after PCR confirmed COVID-19 infection. Patients had no cardiovascular symptoms prior to COVID-19 infection. Each patient was referred for cardiovascular evaluation at a tertiary referral center. The incidence and etiology of abnormalities on cardiovascular testing among patients with long COVID symptoms are reported here. The cohort was subsequently divided into three categories based on the dominant circulating severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variant at the time of initial infection for further analysis. Among 40,462 unique patients diagnosed with COVID-19 at our tertiary referral center from April 2020 to March 2022, 363 (0. 9%) patients with long COVID were evaluated by Cardiology for possible cardiac sequelae from COVID and formed the main study cohort. Of these, 229 (63%) were vaccinated and 47 (12. 9%) had severe initial infection receiving inpatient treatment for COVID prior to developing long COVID symptoms. Symptoms were associated with a cardiac cause in 85 (23. 4%), of which 52 (14. 3%) were attributed to COVID; 39 (10. 7%) with new cardiac disease from COVID, and 13 (3. 6%) to worsening of pre-existing cardiac disease after COVID infection. The median troponin change in 45 patients with troponin measurements within 4 weeks of acute infection was +4 ng/dl (9 to 13 ng/dl). Among the total cohort with long COVID, 83. 7% were diagnosed during the pre-Delta phase, 13. 2% during the Delta phase, and 3. 1% during the Omicron phase of the pandemic. There were six cases of myocarditis, 11 rhythm disorders, eight cases of pericarditis, five suspected cases of endothelial dysfunction, and 33 cases of autonomic dysfunction. This pragmatic retrospective cohort study suggests that patients with long COVID referred for cardiovascular evaluation infrequently have new, objective cardiovascular disease to explain their clinical presentation. A multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach is warranted for symptom management along with conservative use of diagnostic testing.

Concepts Keywords
April cardiovascular disease
Cardiology long COVID
Coronavirus pandemic


Type Source Name
disease MESH Cardiovascular Disease
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH long COVID
disease MESH abnormalities
disease MESH infection
disease MESH etiology
disease VO Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
disease VO time
disease MESH sequelae
disease VO vaccinated
disease MESH cardiac disease
disease IDO acute infection
disease MESH myocarditis
disease MESH pericarditis
disease IDO symptom

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