Although COVID-19 is commonly associated with respiratory complications, it is increasingly considered to have a significant impact on the heart and cardiovascular system. However, attention has recently been drawn to the impact of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system.
Other cardiac abnormalities, including myocarditis, are detected in the majority of patients hospitalized for COVID-19.
Considering that myocarditis is associated with immediate problems in athletes, it was stated that it may lead to the risk of myocarditis following COVID-19 in athletic and highly active individuals.
Some athletes in the US and Europe have reported persistent and persistent symptoms, such as cough, tachycardia, and fatigue, weeks to months after their first coronavirus infection.
As the coronavirus can cause fibrosis in the lungs and cause the organs to lose their flexibility, the possibility that the cardiopulmonary functions of the athletes may be affected as the lungs lose their flexibility was focused on.
This has spurred studies of the potential long-term consequences of the virus.
Researchers sought to determine the effectiveness of cardiac assessment in stratifying athletes after COVID-19 infection so they can return to training.
A heart test was performed on 26 athletes from Ohio State University who had Covid-19. Of those tested, 46% were mildly symptomatic for Covid-19, and the other 54% were asymptomatic. All labs and electrocardiograms were normal. However, a much more detailed test known as Cardiac MRI (CMR) was used, 46% showed cardiac abnormalities and 15% met the criteria for myocarditis.
Another study, published in January 2021, evaluated a larger group of athletes who were COVID-19 positive using cardiac MRI, EEG, and serum markers of cardiac pathology. Only two had MRI findings consistent with myocarditis, leading the authors to conclude that the incidence following COVID-19 is much less common than previously thought.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) found a similar prevalence in another published study. The team compared COVID-19 positive athletes with healthy controls and healthy athletes and found that only 3% of those who tested positive had myocarditis.
The Canadian Cardiovascular Association/Canadian Heart Rhythm Association has recommended that athletes who test positive or have suspected cases of Covid-19 can gradually return to sports after seven days without symptoms of the virus. In the statements, he emphasized that if the athlete has no symptoms, they do not recommend routine laboratories, electrocardiograms or CMR before returning to sports. They pointed out that abnormalities in the CMR usually resolve within a few months.
As a result, it has been tried to establish a balance between protecting the athletes while not unnecessarily scaring them. In the light of all this information, the researchers drew attention to the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation and stated that the exercises should be added gradually.
However, the following recommendations are listed;
After recovery from mild illness: 1 week of low-level stretching and strengthening prior to targeted cardiovascular sessions
Very mild symptoms: limit activity to slow walking or equivalent. If symptoms worsen, increase rest periods. Avoid high-intensity training
Persistent symptoms (such as fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, fever): limit activity to 60% of maximum heart rate until 2-3 weeks after symptoms resolve
Patients with lymphopenia or required oxygen need a respiratory assessment before resuming exercise.
Patients with cardiac involvement need cardiac evaluation before proceeding.