COVID-19-related myocarditis is underdiagnosed, especially for younger adults

One the most concerning secondary conditions of COVID-19 is myocarditis and research indicates that 60% of COVID-19 survivors, independent of the severity of the illness, develop myocarditis. This makes it highly likely that there are many undiagnosed cases of COVID-19 myocarditis, especially in young adults that have had asymptomatic to moderate cases of the disease and are unaware of risk, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Walter Gabriel, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “There is physiological credence that either the virus itself or the immune response to the virus causes COVID-19 myocarditis.”

A study published in September, 2020 by Siripanthong and colleagues in Heart Rhythm indicates that the virus can enter heart tissue through the ACE2 receptor. A review article by Tschöpe and colleagues published in Nature a month later argues that the adaptive immune system’s response to SARS-CoV-2 infection can result in inflammation to the heart muscle.

Gabriel adds: “Both theories need further evaluation in relation to COVID-19 myocarditis to further understand the pathology of the disease.”

The Mayo Clinic indicates that common symptoms of myocarditis can include chest pain, shortness of breath, arrhythmias and fatigue. In more severe cases, myocarditis can lead to heart failure, a heart attack, stroke and even sudden cardiac arrest.

Gabriel adds: “Myocarditis is challenging to diagnose, which makes it difficult to systematically approximate myocarditis incidence among COVID-19 survivors. Given the rising case numbers, research and screening among patients experiencing myocarditis symptoms after recovery could help prevent and mitigate further complications.”

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