A scary new report from Ohio State University (OSU) found that young athletes who tested positive for COVID-19, even if they had no symptoms, had evidence of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) weeks to months afterward. This has led the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend “Children should not return to sports for 14 days after exposure to COVID-19, and those with moderate symptoms should undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG) before returning.”
In this OSU study 26 competitive college athletes who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were examined by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging that looks for evidence of myocarditis. Less than half of them had had even mild symptoms. Eight (31%) tested positive for evidence of prior heart muscle injury and 4 (15%) still had ongoing heart muscle inflammation. Two of those with continued myocarditis had pericardial effusions (fluid collection outside of the heart) and 2 had symptoms of shortness of breath. It is not possible to know how worrisome this could be or how long it will last but myocarditis is a significant cause of sudden cardiac death in competitive athletes and can occur with normal heart muscle function. This brings the age of heart worries after COVID-19 down from an earlier widely publicized report in Germany that showed that 78% of more middle aged (average age in that report was 49 years) had evidence of heart involvement during COVID-19 infection and 60% had ongoing heart muscle inflammation months after the infection.
I think that members of a certain herd who have a certain mentality should instead be trying to avoid getting COVID-19.
2. JAMA Cardiol. Published online September 11, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2020.4916
John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- [email protected] or phone-354-6605.