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Papers of the Week

2022 Aug




A Systematic Review of COVID-19 and Pericarditis.


Kariyanna P T, Sabih A, Sutarjono B, Shah K, Vargas Peláez A, Lewis J, Yu R, Grewal ES, Jayarangaiah A, Das S, Jayarangaiah A
Cureus. 2022 Aug; 14(8):e27948.
PMID: 36120210.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since then, the disease has spread globally, leading to the ongoing pandemic. It can cause severe respiratory illness; however, many cases of pericarditis have also been reported. This systematic review aims to recognize the clinical features of pericarditis and myopericarditis in COVID-19 patients. Google Scholar, Medline/PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Central, and Web of Science databases were searched for studies reporting "Coronavirus" or "COVID" and "Peri-myocarditis," "heart," or "retrospective." Case reports and retrospective studies published from May 2020 to February 2021 were reviewed. In total, 33 studies on pericarditis, myopericarditis, and pericardial infusion were included in this review. COVID-19 pericarditis affected adult patients at any age. The incidence is more common in males, with a male-to-female ratio of 2:1. Chest pain (60%), fever (51%), and shortness of breath (51%) were the most reported symptoms, followed by cough (39%), fatigue (15%), myalgia (12%), and diarrhea (12%). Laboratory tests revealed leukocytosis with neutrophil predominance, elevated D-dimer, erythrocyte rate, and C-reactive protein. Cardiac markers including troponin-1, troponin-T, and brain natriuretic peptide were elevated in most cases. Radiographic imaging of the chest were mostly normal, and only 31% of chest X-rays showed cardiomegaly and or bilateral infiltration. Electrocardiography (ECG) demonstrated normal sinus rhythm with around 59% ST elevation and rarely PR depression or T wave inversion, while the predominant echocardiographic feature was pericardial effusion. Management with colchicine was favored in most cases, followed by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and interventional therapy was only needed when patient developed cardiac tamponade. The majority of the reviewed studies reported either recovery or no continued clinical deterioration. The prevalence of COVID-19-related cardiac diseases is high, and pericarditis is a known extrapulmonary manifestation. However, pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade are less prevalent and may require urgent intervention to prevent mortality. Pericarditis should be considered in patients with chest pain, ST elevation on ECG, a normal coronary angiogram, and COVID-19. We emphasize the importance of clinical examination, ECG, and echocardiogram for decision-making, and NSAIDs, colchicine, and corticosteroids are considered to be safe in the treatment of pericarditis/myopericarditis associated with COVID-19.