New Delhi: As questions remain about the long-term effects of the novel coronavirus disease Covid-19, a study from Germany has reported that 78 per cent of patients who had recovered showed some signs of cardiac effects while in 60 per cent of patients, there were signs of myocardial (heart muscle) inflammation. These findings were independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and time of original diagnosis, the researchers from the University Hospital Frankfurt reported in JAMA Cardiology.
The patients were assessed using cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging that looks at the structural changes in the heart. This is the latest in a series of papers on post-Covid complications.
What CMR found
According to the study, the researchers observed a cohort of 100 German patients who had recently recovered from the Covid-19 infection. The CMR revealed cardiac involvement in 78 patients and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60 patients, independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and time from the original diagnosis. “These findings indicate the need for ongoing investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19,” the researchers reported.
Of the 100 patients, 53 were males, and the median age was 49 (45-53) years. Among the cohort, 33 patients required hospitalisation while others recovered at home. The home recoveries were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.
There was no difference in the incidence of cardiac changes in the two groups.
“To our knowledge, this is the first prospective report on a cohort of unselected patients with a recent COVID-19 infection identified from a local testing center who voluntarily underwent evaluation for cardiac involvement with CMR. The results of our study provide important insights into the prevalence of cardiovascular involvement in the early convalescent stage.
“Our findings demonstrate that participants with a relative paucity of preexisting cardiovascular condition and with mostly home-based recovery had frequent cardiac inflammatory involvement, which was similar to the hospitalized subgroup with regards to severity and extent,” the researchers wrote.
The findings, however, are not validated for patients aged less than 18 years, they noted.
Several post-Covid complications were noticed, including those related to the increased tendency of blood clotting within the blood vessels. This can affect the functioning of virtually any organ.
The other complications were kidney and liver problems, neurological and psychiatric problems, shortness of breath and fatigue. Sometimes, milder symptoms continued, such as impairment of smell and taste sensations. Ischaemic strokes and haemorrhages in the brain were also reported in some of the recovering patients.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India is in the process of formulating guidelines for Covid recovered patients, Officer on Special Duty Rajesh Bhushan said last week.