Role of multimodality imaging in evaluation of cardiovascular involvement in COVID-19

Rodolfo Citro, Gianluca Pontone, Michele Bellino, Angelo Silverio, Giuseppe Iuliano, Andrea Baggiano, Robert Manka, Severino Iesu, Carmine Vecchione, Federico Miguel Asch, Jelena Rima Ghadri, Christian Templin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The management of patients infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may be difficult due to the need for dedicated in-hospital pathways, protective measures for healthcare professionals and isolated beds of intensive care, particularly in areas overwhelmed by wide viral spread. Although pneumonia is the most common clinical manifestation in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a variety of cardiovascular complications have been reported. An integrated diagnostic algorithm in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with suspected cardiac involvement (laboratory findings of myocardial injury and electrocardiographic changes) may help to avoid unnecessary examinations and minimize the risk of operator infection. Due to its mobility and bedside feasibility, echocardiography is the first-line imaging technique in this clinical setting. It quickly provides information on ventricular functions, pulmonary hypertension, valve disease and pericardial effusion. In case of ST-segment elevation (STE), urgent coronary angiography should be performed. Cardiac ultrasound helps distinguish between ischemic and non-ischemic myocardial disease and may detect pericardial disease. Transmural ischemic electrocardiographic changes, with or without early elevated troponin levels or echocardiographic wall motion abnormalities, will determine the need for early invasive coronary angiography. Computed tomography (CT) through its multiple applications (chest CT; CT pulmonary angiography and coronary CT angiography; late iodine enhancement CT) and cardiac magnetic resonance might be helpful in reinforcing or redirecting diagnostic hypothesis emerged by other clinical, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic findings. The current pandemic makes it challenging to perform serial invasive and non-invasive diagnostic testing in COVID-19 patients and high serum troponin level. Nevertheless, thoughtful and systematic use of an appropriate multimodality imaging strategy is clinically relevant to detect cardiac injury and distinguish myocardial infarction from, myocarditis, takotsubo syndrome and pulmonary embolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
JournalTrends in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 13 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


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