Utility of exercise testing to assess athletes for post COVID-19 myocarditis.

Mitrani RD; Alfadhli J; Lowery MH; Best TM; Hare JM; Fishman J; Dong C; Siegel Y; Scavo V; Basham GJ; Myerburg RJ; Goldberger JJ;

American heart journal plus : cardiology research and practice [Am Heart J Plus] 2022 Mar 31, pp. 100125.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2022 Mar 31.

Purpose: This study assessed a functional protocol to identify myocarditis or myocardial involvement in competitive athletes following SARS-CoV2 infection.
Methods: We prospectively evaluated competitive athletes (n = 174) for myocarditis or myocardial involvement using the Multidisciplinary Inquiry of Athletes in Miami (MIAMI) protocol, a median of 18.5 (IQR 16-25) days following diagnosis of COVID-19 infection. The protocol included biomarker analysis, ECG, cardiopulmonary stress echocardiography testing with global longitudinal strain (GLS), and targeted cardiac MRI for athletes with abnormal findings. Patients were followed for median of 148 days.
Results: We evaluated 52 females and 122 males, with median age 21 (IQR: 19, 22) years. Five (2.9%) had evidence of myocardial involvement, including definite or probable myocarditis (n = 2). Three of the 5 athletes with myocarditis or myocardial involvement had clinically significant abnormalities during stress testing including ventricular ectopy, wall motion abnormalities and/or elevated VE/VCO2, while the other two athletes had resting ECG abnormalities. VO2 max , left ventricular ejection fraction and GLS were similar between those with or without myocardial involvement. No adverse events were reported in the 169 athletes cleared to exercise at a median follow-up of 148 (IQR108,211) days. Patients who were initially restricted from exercise had no adverse sequelae and were cleared to resume training between 3 and 12 months post diagnosis.
Conclusions: Screening protocols that include exercise testing may enhance the sensitivity of detecting COVID-19 related myocardial involvement following recovery from SARS-CoV2 infection.