COVID-19: The Heart of the Matter—Pathological Changes and a Proposed Mechanism
Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has resulted in over 88 million cases worldwide of COVID-19 as of January 2021. The heart is one of the most commonly affected organs in COVID-19, but the nature and extent of the cardiac pathology has remained controversial. It has been shown that patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 can sustain type 1 myocardial infarction in the absence of significant atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. However, many patients present with small elevations of troponin enzymes of unclear etiology which correlate with overall COVID-19 disease outcome. Early autopsy reports indicated variable levels of typical lymphocytic myocarditis, while radiology reports have indicated that myocarditis can be a persistent problem after recovery from acute illness, raising concern about participation in college athletics. In this communication, we review the literature to date regarding the gross and microscopic findings of COVID-19 cardiac involvement, present the findings from over 40 cases from our academic medical center, and propose mechanisms by which patients develop small elevations in troponin.
Fox, Sharon E. and Heide, Richard S.Vander, "COVID-19: The Heart of the Matter—Pathological Changes and a Proposed Mechanism" (2021). School of Medicine Faculty Publications. 251.