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Mid- to long-term cardiac magnetic resonance findings in elite athletes recovered from COVID-19 - results from one German Olympic medical center

  • Background There is a lack of cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) data regarding mid- to long-term myocardial damage due to Covid-19 in elite athletes. Objective This study investigated mid-to long-term consequences of myocardial involvement after a Covid-19 infection in elite athletes. Methods Between January 2020 and October 2021, 27 athletes of the German Olympic centre Rhineland with confirmed Covid-19 infection were analyzed. 9 healthy non-athlete volunteers served as control. CMR was performed in mean 182 days (SD 99) after initial positive test result. Results CMR did not reveal any signs of acute myocarditis in regard to the current Lake Louise criteria or myocardial damage in any of the 26 elite athletes with previous Covid-19 infection. Nevertheless, 92 % of the athletes experienced a symptomatic course and 54 % reported lasting symptoms for more than 4 weeks. In one male athlete CMR revealed an arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) and this athlete was excluded from the study. Athletes had significantly enlarged left and right ventricle volumes and increased left ventricular myocardial mass in comparison to the healthy control group (LVEDVi 103.4 vs. 91.1 ml/m 2 p=0.031; RVEDVi 104.1 vs. 86.6 ml/m 2 p=0.007; and LVMi 59.0 vs. 46.2 g/m 2 p=0.002). Conclusion Our findings suggest that the risk for mid-to long-term myocardial damage seems to be very low to negligible in elite athletes. No conclusions can be drawn regarding myocardial injury in the acute phase of infection nor about possible long-term myocardial effects in the general population.

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Document Type:Preprint
Author:Christopher Schneeweis, Katharina Diebold, Thomas Schramm, Christine Syrek, Hans-Georg Predel, Robert Manka, Jonas Zacher
Publisher:Research Square
Date of first publication:2022/05/27
Copyright:This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 License.
Keyword:COVID-19; cardiac magnetic resonance; elite athletes
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Entry in this database:2022/06/17