The Incidence of Myocarditis and Pericarditis in Post COVID-19 Unvaccinated Patients – A Large Population-Based Study

Ortal Tuvali et al.

Myocarditis and pericarditis are potential post-acute cardiac sequelae of COVID-19 infection, arising from adaptive immune responses. We aimed to study the incidence of post-acute COVID-19 myocarditis and pericarditis. Retrospective cohort study of 196,992 adults after COVID-19 infection in Clalit Health Services members in Israel between March 2020 and January 2021. Inpatient myocarditis and pericarditis diagnoses were retrieved from day 10 after positive PCR. Follow-up was censored on 28 February 2021, with minimum observation of 18 days. The control cohort of 590,976 adults with at least one negative PCR and no positive PCR were age- and sex-matched. Since the Israeli vaccination program was initiated on 20 December 2020, the time-period matching of the control cohort was calculated backward from 15 December 2020. Nine post-COVID-19 patients developed myocarditis (0.0046%), and eleven patients were diagnosed with pericarditis (0.0056%). In the control cohort, 27 patients had myocarditis (0.0046%) and 52 had pericarditis (0.0088%). Age (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI]; 0.93 to 1.00) and male sex (aHR 4.42; 95% CI, 1.64 to 11.96) were associated with myocarditis. Male sex (aHR 1.93; 95% CI 1.09 to 3.41) and peripheral vascular disease (aHR 4.20; 95% CI 1.50 to 11.72) were associated with pericarditis. Post COVID-19 infection was not associated with either myocarditis (aHR 1.08; 95% CI 0.45 to 2.56) or pericarditis (aHR 0.53; 95% CI 0.25 to 1.13). We did not observe an increased incidence of neither pericarditis nor myocarditis in adult patients recovering from COVID-19 infection.

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