COVID-19 patients with mild infections appear to make a full cardiovascular recovery after six months, according to new research published in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. The study’s authors found no evidence of lasting damage to the structure of the heart or its ability to function.
“Disentangling the impact COVID-19 has on the heart has been a challenge,” co-author Thomas A. Treibel, PhD, a cardiologist for Barts Health NHS Trust and assistant professor at University College London, said in a prepared statement. “But we’re now at the stage of the pandemic where we can really start to get a grip on the longer-term implications COVID-19 has on the health of our heart and blood vessels.”
Treibel et al. explored cardiac MR imaging findings from 74 healthcare workers who had previously been diagnosed with a mild COVID-19 infection and 75 healthcare workers with no prior history of COVID-19. All patient data came from the COVIDsortium, a collaborative study of healthcare workers from three different London hospitals. Blood work was also done to examine troponin and NT-proBNP levels.
Overall, the authors saw no significant differences between the two groups. Blood work also revealed that troponin and NT-proBNP levels were the same.
“We’ve been able to capitalize on our incredible frontline staff who’ve been exposed to the virus this past year and we’re pleased to show that the majority of people who’ve had COVID-19 seem to not be at increased risk of developing future heart complications,” Treibel said. “We now need to focus our attention on the long term impact the virus has in those who’ve been hit hardest by the disease.”