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Studies show that less than 1% of COVID-positive college athletes develop heart problems

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A study of more than 3,000 college athletes infected with COVID-19, published Saturday, found that there were very few cases of heart-related problems, so future heart tests will be for athletes with specific symptoms. May only be used for.

In this study, published in the American Heart Association’s Journal Circulation, 21 (0.7%) of the 3,018 athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 were possible, possible, or clear. Signs of myocarditis or heart inflammation were found. It was also shown that athletes with heart problems are more likely to have moderate COVID-19 and / or cardiopulmonary symptoms.

Dr. Jonathan Drezner, director of the University of Washington Center for Sport and Cardiology and co-principal investigator of the study, said the results were a cardiac screening protocol for athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 at the university and NCAA. Said it would help improve. ..

“The bigger message is to athletes who have only mild or no symptoms. It’s not clear if they need to be tested,” he said. “And it’s just a matter of reviewing your symptoms and making sure you feel better when you get back to play.”

Drezner was an NCAA consultant and NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline was on the research group’s steering committee. The study included male and female athletes from 42 colleges and institutions across 26 sports.

Studies have shown a low prevalence of myocarditis after COVID-19 in college athletes, and an association with moderate and cardiac symptoms. Large-scale study of professional athletes Released last month.

Dr. Aaron Bagish, director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who was involved in both studies, said the university study had nearly four times as many athletes, one-third of whom were women. (A study of professional athletes), and provided details about the symptoms.

In some early small studies, one study of about 20 athletes at Ohio State University found that athletes had a much higher incidence of post-COVID-19 myocarditis, including about 15%. It was shown to be high. It raised concerns between medical professionals and college athletic managers making the decision to return to play.

For the past year, it has been common for schools to perform heart tests on all COVID-19-positive athletes. One of the common “triad” protocols was to perform an electrocardiogram, a blood test for troponin proteins, and an echocardiogram (or ultrasound) of the heart. In some cases, the student also underwent cardiac MRI.

Drezner said that if the athlete has moderate symptoms such as “fever, body pain, lying in bed”, cardiopulmonary symptoms, any abnormalities in the triad test, or cardiopulmonary problems after returning to play. He said he only needed to use cardiac MRI. He said the use of cardiac MRI, an expensive tool with limited availability as a primary screening tool, can lead to overdiagnosis and unnecessary restrictions on athletes’ play. “There is potential harm,” he said.

Of the 21 cases that may have confirmed cardiac concerns, cardiac MRI found 11 cases of clear or possible myocardial or myocardial pericardial problems. Nine of them were when the athlete showed moderate or cardiopulmonary symptoms, or had abnormal findings in one of the triad tests.

Baggish emailed the school using the results of this study to “abolish the comprehensive test, assuming that asymptomatic or mildly ill student athletes are fully recovered and return to exercise without problems.” Is written. [and] For student athletes with moderate or higher symptom burden or symptoms when returning to exercise, it is costly and sometimes limits complex heart tests. “

Researchers also determined that COVID-19 did not cause any athletes in the study to have a heart attack or related event. One athlete suffered from cardiac arrest, but it is likely not related to the coronavirus, Drezner said.

“Over the country, there are 8 million high school athletes with a 10% infection rate. The university infection rate is probably 20%, and I haven’t heard of these adverse events,” Drezner said. “It is also an indirect sense of security.”

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