COVID-19: Infection effects on Myocarditis and The Exercising Heart
Dr. Heather Greenlee
Up until this point, not much is known about the impact the SARS-CoV-2 virus has on the heart. At the beginning of the pandemic in March, 2020, COVID-19 was known for causing pneumonia and various other complications stemming from lung damage. Recent research has hypothesized the possible effect COVID-19 can have on other body systems, including the heart. A recent observational study in Germany found that out of 100 athletes, recently recovered from COVID-19, 78 had abnormal findings on CMR imaging studies. One possible link between the heart and COVID-19 is myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart due to viral infection. The importance of this review lies within the fact myocarditis is the cause of 7% to 20% of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. This review will discuss the research on the pathology of the potential link between COVID-19 and the heart (specifically myocarditis), the prevalence of heart injury and COVID-19, and the steps recreational and professional athletes should consider to take before return to action.