Patients with persistent dyspnea 1 year after recovery from acute COVID-19 may have abnormal heart function, according to a study presented at a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology. Maria-Luiza Luchian, MD, and colleagues examined the presence of persistent dyspnea 1 year after acute COVID-19. A total of 143 recovered patients were followed up with clinical evaluation and spirometry at 6 months and chest CT and comprehensive transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) at 12 months; analyses included 66 patients without previous cardiovascular or pulmonary disease. TTE parameters were in the normal range for these patients, including mean left ejection fraction (56.98% ± 4.64%), mean global longitudinal strain (GLS; −20.90% ± 2.37%), global constructive work (GCW; 2,381.45 mm Hg ± 463.68 mm Hg), and global work index (GWI; 2,132.49 ± 419.22). At 1-year follow-up, 34.8% of patients (N=23) reported exertional dyspnea. Patients with and without dyspnea exhibited no significant differences regarding clinical, laboratory, or imaging findings at baseline, but GLS, GCW, and GWI were significantly different between symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. GCW, GWI, and normal respiratory pattern at 6 months were inversely associated with persistent dyspnea upon multivariable analysis.
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