American heart journal plus : cardiology research and practice, Volume 27, 23 4 2023, Pages 100280 Coronary calcium score in COVID-19 survivors: Association with cardiac injury and cardiac function after 6 weeks. Groen RA, de Graaf MA, Stöger JL, van Dijkman PRM, Jukema JW, Schalij MJ, Geelhoed JJM, Antoni ML
Cardiac manifestations are common in COVID-19, often elevated serum troponin levels or myocardial dysfunction on trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE) is observed. Both parameters are associated with increased in-hospital mortality. Possibly, subclinical coronary atherosclerosis plays a role, of which severity can be assessed by calculating the coronary artery calcium (CAC) score. This study aims to determine the relation between coronary atherosclerosis and cardiac manifestations in COVID-19 survivors.
This study was conducted at the Leiden University Medical Center. All patients admitted for COVID-19 were included and scheduled for a 6-week follow-up visit with trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE). CAC was assessed according to an ordinal score on non-gated, non-contrast enhanced computed tomography of the chest. Patients with and without CAC were compared on cardiac injury as reflected by elevated serum troponin levels and impaired cardiac function assessed through TTE.
In total, 146 patients were included. Mean age was 62 years and 62 % of the patients were male. During admission, patients with CAC showed significantly higher levels of troponin (19 ng/L vs 10 ng/L; p < 0.01). Overall, mild echocardiographic abnormalities were seen; 12 % showed reduced left ventricular function (left ventricular ejection fraction of <50 %) and 14 % reduced right ventricular function (tricuspid annular planar systolic excursion ≤17 mm). Following multivariable adjustments, there was no significant relation between CAC and myocardial function at 6 weeks.
The present study shows that coronary atherosclerosis is associated with cardiac injury in COVID-19 survivors. However, no significant relation with impaired cardiac function was demonstrated.