The international journal of cardiovascular imaging, Volume 38, Issue 9, 16 3 2022, Pages 1951-1960 Myocardial function in COVID-19 patients after hospital discharge: a descriptive study comparing the first and second 'wave' patients. Elffers TW, de Graaf MA, Regeer MV, Omara S, Schalij MJ, Groeneveld GH, Roukens AHE, Geelhoed JJM, Antoni ML

In hospitalized COVID-19 patients, myocardial injury and echocardiographic abnormalities have been described. The present study investigates cardiac function in COVID-19 patients 6 weeks post-discharge and evaluates its relation to New York Heart Association (NYHA) class. Furthermore cardiac function post-discharge between the first and second wave COVID-19 patients was compared. We evaluated 146 patients at the outpatient clinic of the Leiden University Medical Centre. NYHA class of II or higher was reported by 53% of patients. Transthoracic echocardiography was used to assess cardiac function. Overall, in 27% of patients reduced left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction was observed and in 29% of patients LV global longitudinal strain was impaired (> - 16%). However no differences were observed in these parameters reflecting LV function between the first and second wave patients. Right ventricular (RV) dysfunction as assessed by tricuspid annular systolic planar excursion (< 17 mm) was present in 14% of patients, this was also not different between the first and second wave patients (15% vs. 12%; p = 0.63); similar results were found for RV fraction area change and RV strain. Reduced LV and RV function were not associated with NYHA class. In COVID-19 patients at 6 weeks post-discharge, mild abnormalities in cardiac function were found. However these were not related to NYHA class and there was no difference in cardiac function between the first and second wave patients. Long term symptoms post-COVID might therefore not be explained by mildly abnormal cardiac function.

Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2022 4;38(9):1951-1960