Echocardiographic findings in non-hospitalised children and adolescents following acute COVID-19.

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DOI: 10.1017/S1047951123002962


BACKGROUND: Although COVID-19 is known to have cardiac effects in children, seen primarily in severe disease, more information is needed about the cardiac effects following COVID-19 in non-hospitalised children and adolescents during recovery. This study aims to compare echocardiographic markers of cardiac size and function of children following acute COVID-19 with those of healthy controls.

METHODS: This single-centre retrospective case-control study compared 71 cases seen in cardiology clinic following acute COVID-19 with 33 healthy controls. Apical left ventricle, apical right ventricle, and parasternal short axis at the level of the papillary muscles were analysed to measure ventricular size and systolic function. Strain was analysed on vendor-independent software. Statistical analysis was performed using t-test, chi-square, Wilcoxon rank sum, and regression modelling as appropriate (p < 0.05 significant).

RESULTS: Compared to controls, COVID-19 cases had slightly higher left ventricular volumes and lower left ventricular ejection fraction and right ventricular fractional area change that remained within normal range. There were no differences in right or left ventricular longitudinal strain between the two groups. Neither initial severity nor persistence of symptoms after diagnosis predicted these differences.

CONCLUSIONS: Echocardiographic findings in children and adolescents 6 weeks to 3 months following acute COVID-19 not requiring hospitalisation were overall reassuring. Compared to healthy controls, the COVID-19 group demonstrated mildly larger left ventricular size and lower conventional measures of biventricular systolic function that remained within the normal range, with no differences in biventricular longitudinal strain. Future studies focusing on longitudinal echocardiographic assessment of patients following acute COVID-19 are needed to better understand these subtle differences in ventricular size and function.

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Cardiology in the young





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MeSH Keywords

Child; Humans; Adolescent; COVID-19; Case-Control Studies; Retrospective Studies; Stroke Volume; Ventricular Function, Left; Echocardiography; Papillary Muscles


COVID-19; echocardiography; paediatrics; strain

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