An analysis of 100 patients who recently recovered from novel coronavirus infection has revealed that nearly 80 per cent of them have cardiac manifestations of the disease, a finding which indicates the need for further research to understand the long-term consequences of COVID-19.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, assessed 100 patients who recently recovered from COVID-19 illness from Germany’s University Hospital Frankfurt between April and June 2020.
According to the researchers, including those from the hospital, cardiac involvement was observed in 78 patients, and ongoing heart inflammation in 60 individuals.
They said the reported symptoms were independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and time from the original diagnosis.
In the study, the scientists assessed recent recovery from the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infection as determined by RT-PCR assays which check for the presence of the virus from swab tests of patients’ upper respiratory tract.
The researchers assessed the patients’ demographic characteristics, blood markers of heart health, and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) scans.
They said 53 of the patients were male, and the average age was 49 years.
According to the study, 67 patients recovered at home, while 33 required hospitalisation.
At the time of the heart scan, the scientists said the molecule high-sensitivity troponin T (hsTnT) was detectable in the blood samples of 71 of the 100 patients recently recovered from COVID-19, and significantly elevated in five of them.
They said a total of 78 patients recently recovered from COVID-19 had abnormal CMR scan findings.
The researchers also noted that heart tissue sample analysis in the patients with severe findings showed active inflammation caused by the immune system.
“The results of our study provide important insights into the prevalence of cardiovascular involvement in the early convalescent stage,” the scientists wrote in the study.
Citing the limitations of the study, the researchers said the findings are not validated for the use in pediatric patients 18 years and younger.
They added that the research also does not represent patients during acute COVID-19 infection, or those who are completely asymptomatic with the disease.
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