Prevalence of Inflammatory Heart Disease Among Professional Athletes With Prior COVID-19 Infection Who Received Systematic Return-to-Play Cardiac Screening (JAMA Network)

This research study was conducted to assess the prevalence of detectable inflammatory heart disease in professional athletes with prior COVID-19 infection, using current RTP screening recommendations.

In this cross-sectional study of RTP cardiac testing performed on 789 professional athletes with COVID-19 infection, imaging evidence of inflammatory heart disease that resulted in restriction from play was identified in 5 athletes (0.6%). No adverse cardiac events occurred in the athletes who underwent cardiac screening and resumed professional sport participation.

Using expert consensus RTP screening recommendations for athletes testing positive for COVID-19, few cases of inflammatory heart disease were detected and safe return to professional sport activity has thus far been achieved.

The prevalence of abnormal RTP test results potentially representing COVID-19–associated cardiac injury, and results and outcomes of additional testing generated by the initial screening process. Troponin testing, electrocardiography (ECG), and resting echocardiography were performed after a positive COVID-19 test result. Interleague, deidentified cardiac data were pooled for collective analysis. Those with abnormal screening test results were referred for additional testing, including cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and/or stress echocardiography.

The prevalence of abnormal RTP test results potentially representing COVID-19–associated cardiac injury, and results and outcomes of additional testing generated by the initial screening process.

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