Cardiovascular Risk Assessment after COVID-19 Infection before Resuming Sports Activities-Practical Flowchart and Meta-Analysis

Luís Puga, Paulo Dinis, Rogério Teixeira, Joana Maria Ribeiro, Hélder Dores, Lino Gonçalves

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Abstract

Background: The risk of sports-related sudden cardiac arrest after COVID-19 infection can be a serious problem. There is an urgent need for evidence-based criteria to ensure patient safety before resuming exercise. Objective: To estimate the pooled prevalence of acute myocardial injury caused by COVID-19 and to provide an easy-to-use cardiovascular risk assessment toolkit prior to resuming sports activities after COVID-19 infection. Methods: We searched the Medline and Cochrane databases for articles on the prevalence of acute myocardial injury associated with COVID-19 infection. The pooled prevalence of acute myocardial injury was calculated for hospitalized patients treated in different settings (non-intensive care unit [ICU], ICU, overall hospitalization, and non-survivors). Statistical significance was accepted for p values <0.05. We propose a practical flowchart to assess the cardiovascular risk of individuals who recovered from COVID-19 before resuming sports activities. Results: A total of 20 studies (6,573 patients) were included. The overall pooled prevalence of acute myocardial injury in hospitalized patients was 21.7% (95% CI 17.3-26.5%). The non-ICU setting had the lowest prevalence (9.5%, 95% CI 1.5-23.4%), followed by the ICU setting (44.9%, 95% CI 27.7-62.8%), and the cohort of non-survivors (57.7% with 95% CI 38.5-75.7%). We provide an approach to assess cardiovascular risk based on the prevalence of acute myocardial injury in each setting. Conclusions: Acute myocardial injury is frequent and associated with more severe disease and hospital admissions. Cardiac involvement could be a potential trigger for exercise-induced clinical complications after COVID-19 infection. We created a toolkit to assist with clinical decision-making prior to resuming sports activities after COVID-19 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Sciences
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Inflammation
  • Myocarditis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports
  • Sports Medicine
  • Sudden Cardiac Death

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