COVID-19 and Congenital Heart Disease: Results From a Nationwide Survey

J Clin Med. 2020 Jun 8;9(6):E1774. doi: 10.3390/jcm9061774.


Background: The pandemic of Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is challenging, given the large number of hospitalized patients. Cardiovascular co-morbidities are linked to a higher mortality risk. Thus, patients with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) might represent a high-risk population. Nevertheless, no data about them are available, yet. Hence, we conducted a nationwide survey to assess clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients with congenital heart disease affected by COVID-19.

Methods and results: This is a multi-centre, observational, nationwide survey, involving high-volume Italian CHD centres. COVID-19 diagnosis was defined as either "clinically suspected" or "confirmed", where a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) test had been performed and was positive. Cardiovascular comorbidities were observed among adult patients-atrial fibrillation (seven; 9%), hypertension (five; 7%), obesity (seven; 9%) and diabetes (one; 1%)-but were absent among children. Cardiovascular complications were mainly observed in the "confirmed" COVID-19+ group, consisting of heart failure (9%), palpitations/arrhythmias (3%), stroke/TIA (3%) and pulmonary hypertension (3%). Cardiovascular symptoms such as chest pain (1%), myocardial injury (1%) and pericardial effusion (1%) were also recorded. On the contrary, CHD patients from the clinically suspected COVID-19 group presented no severe symptoms or complications.

Conclusions: Despite previous reports pointing to a higher case-fatality rate among patients with cardiovascular co-morbidities, we observed a mild COVID-19 clinical course in our cohort of CHD patients. Although these results should be confirmed in larger cohorts to investigate the underlying mechanisms, the findings of low cardiovascular complications rates and no deaths are reassuring for CHD patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; cardiovascular complications; congenital heart disease.