Heart function is normal in most people who have had COVID-19

Impaired heart function does not seem to be the reason why it takes a long time for some to recover after undergoing COVID-19.

A computer on a table
Photo of Echocardiography machine. Copyright (c) Øystein Horgmo / University of Oslo

One of the complications you can get due to COVID-19 infection is inflammation of the heart muscle. This condition is called myocarditis, and can cause symptoms such as palpitations, difficulties breathing, disturbance of the heart rhythm and pressure on the chest. However, a new study provides good reason for optimism regarding cardiac function after undergoing COVID-19. In a new study, researchers found that heart function was normal in most people a few months after having been hospitalised with COVID-19 infection.

– Our study shows that most of the patients who have undergone a COVID-19 infection are doing well. Most people’s heart function was normal after recovery, says former researcher at the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Jorun Tangen. 

Hypertensive heart disease is caused by high blood pressure over time, and reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body. However, this disease did not explain the reduced cardiac function in these six patients. Tangen explains that we can therefore imagine that the change in heart function is a consequence of complications related to COVID-19.

– We cannot rule out that these patients had impaired heart function due to undergone myocarditis in connection with COVID-19 infection, she states.
The study involved 92 patients who had been hospitalised with COVID-19 infection. The average age of the participants was 59 years and a little less than half were women.
– We did echocardiographic examinations of the patients three months after they were discharged from hospital. The study is a multi-centre study in which 23 hospitals from all over the country are involved, Tangen says.
Echocardiography is a method of examining the heart with ultrasound. The method is accurate and makes it possible to study the heart's anatomy, movement, as well as the blood flow through the heart. Tangen and colleagues examined whether the participants had impaired heart function that could be a consequence of having undergone COVID-19.
Read the full story on the webpage for Institute of Clinical Medicine​. 

Related researchers

Jorunn Tangen, MD/PhD fellow, OUS

Thor Edvardsen, MD/Professor, OUS

Last updated 7/8/2024