BACKGROUND. A possible association has been reported between COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccination and myocarditis. OBJECTIVE. The purpose of our study was to describe cardiac MRI findings in patients with myocarditis after COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. METHODS. This retrospective study included patients without known prior SARS-CoV-2 infection who underwent cardiac MRI between May 14, 2021, and June 14, 2021, for suspected myocarditis within 2 weeks of COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. Information regarding clinical presentation, hospital course, and events after hospital discharge were recorded. A cardiothoracic imaging fellow and cardiothoracic radiologist reviewed cardiac MRI examinations in consensus. Data were summarized descriptively. RESULTS. Of 52 patients without known prior SARS-CoV-2 infection who underwent cardiac MRI during the study period, five underwent MRI for suspected myocarditis after recent COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. All five patients were male patients ranging in age from 16 to 19 years (mean, 17.2 ± 1.0 [SD] years) who presented within 4 days of receiving the second dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. Troponin levels were elevated in all patients (mean peak troponin I value, 6.82 ± 4.13 ng/mL). Alternate possible causes of myocarditis were deemed clinically unlikely on the basis of medical history, physical examination findings, myocarditis viral panel, and toxicology screening. Cardiac MRI findings were consistent with myocarditis in all five patients on the basis of the Lake Louise criteria, including early gadolinium enhancement and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in all patients and corresponding myocardial edema in four patients. All five patients had a favorable hospital course and were discharged from the hospital in stable condition with improved or resolved symptoms after hospitalization (mean length of hospital stay, 4.8 days). Two patients underwent repeat cardiac MRI that showed persistent, although decreased, LGE. Three patients reported mild intermittent self-resolving chest pain after hospital discharge, and two patients had no recurrent symptoms after discharge. CONCLUSION. In this small case series, all patients with myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination were male adolescents and had a favorable initial clinical course. All patients showed cardiac MRI findings typical of myocarditis from other causes. LGE persisted in two patients who underwent repeat MRI. These observations do not establish causality. CLINICAL IMPACT. Radiologists should be aware of a possible association of COVID-19 mRNA vaccination and myocarditis and recognize the role of cardiac MRI in the assessment of suspected myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination.
Keywords: COVID-19; MRI; myocarditis; vaccination.