An innovative study at Duke Health aims to determine the prevalence of COVID-related heart inflammation among top-level athletes and establish the symptoms and clinical features to ensure they receive timely and accurate diagnoses.
Heart inflammation, called myocarditis, can arise from COVID infections, and can cause chest pain, heart palpitations and shortness of breath. In severe cases, it can cause permanent damage. Numerous college and professional athletes have tested positive for COVID, adding heightened urgency to research on the cardiovascular effects of the infection.
The Duke-led study is an outgrowth of the Hearts of Athletes study that was launched to establish a better understanding of how hearts are altered by high-level athletic activities. With the new focus on COVID, the study will enroll 300 NCAA, professional and Olympic athletes around the country – 200 who have had COVID and 100 who have not – to undergo heart tests and participate in ongoing monitoring via a health app.