COVID and Cardiovascular Disease: What We Know in 2021

Michael Chilazi, Eamon Y. Duffy, Aarti Thakkar, Erin D. Michos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been the cause of significant global morbidity and mortality. Here, we review the literature to date of the short-term and long-term consequences of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection on the heart. Recent Findings: Early case reports described a spectrum of cardiovascular manifestations of COVID-19, including myocarditis, stress cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction, and arrhythmia. However, in most cases, myocardial injury in COVID-19 appears to be predominantly mediated by the severity of critical illness rather than direct injury to myocardium from viral particles. While cardiac magnetic resonance imaging remains a powerful tool for diagnosing acute myocarditis, it should be used judiciously in light of low baseline prevalence of myocarditis. Guiding an athletic patient through return to play (RTP) after COVID-19 infection is a challenging process. More recent data show RTP has been a safe endeavor using a screening protocol. “Long COVID” or post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection has also been described. The reported symptoms span a large breadth of cardiopulmonary and neurologic complaints including fatigue, palpitations, chest pain, breathlessness, brain fog, and dysautonomia including postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Management of POTS/dysautonomia primarily centers on education, exercise, and salt and fluid repletion. Summary: Our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system is constantly evolving. As we enter a new age of survivorship, additional research is needed to catalogue the burden of persistent cardiopulmonary symptoms. Research is also needed to learn how acute management may alter the likelihood and prevalence of this chronic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number37
JournalCurrent atherosclerosis reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Long COVID
  • Return to play
  • SARS-CoV2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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