SARS-CoV-2 Myocarditis: Insights Into Incidence, Prognosis, and Therapeutic Implications

Ossama K. Abou Hassan, Calvin C. Sheng, Tom Kai Ming Wang, Paul C. Cremer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: In coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), myocardial injury occurs frequently in severe or critically ill hospitalized patients, yet myocarditis is much less common. In this context, revisiting the definition of myocarditis is appropriate with a specific focus on diagnostic and management considerations in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Recent Findings: Pathologic cardiac specimens from patients with COVID-19 suggest a mixed inflammatory response involving lymphocytes and macrophages, and importantly, cellular injury occurs predominantly at the level of pericytes and endothelial cells, less often involving direct myocyte necrosis. In COVID-19, the diagnosis of myocarditis has understandably been based predominantly on clinical criteria, and the number of patients with clinically suspected myocarditis who would meet diagnostic histological criteria is unclear. Echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance are important diagnostic tools, although the prognostic implications of abnormalities are still being defined. Importantly, SARS-CoV2 myocarditis should be diagnosed within an appropriate clinical context and should not be based on isolated imaging findings. Therapies in COVID-19 have focused on the major clinical manifestation of pneumonia, but the promotion of viral clearance early in the disease could prevent the development of myocarditis, and further study of immunosuppressive therapies once myocarditis has developed are indicated. Summary: A strict and uniform approach is needed to diagnose myocarditis due to SARS-CoV-2 to better understand the natural history of this disease and to facilitate evaluation of potential therapeutic interventions. A methodological approach will also better inform the incidence of COVID-19 associated myocarditis and potential long-term health effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number129
JournalCurrent Cardiology Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 therapy
  • Myocardial injury
  • Myocarditis
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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