Cardiac MRI Findings in COVID-19 Vaccine-Related Myocarditis: A Pooled Analysis of 468 Patients

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2022 Oct;56(4):971-982. doi: 10.1002/jmri.28268. Epub 2022 May 25.


Understanding the pattern and severity of myocarditis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine is imperative for improving the care of the patients, and cardiac evaluation by MRI plays a key role in this regard. Our systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to summarize cardiac MRI findings in COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis. We performed a comprehensive systematic review of literature in PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases using key terms covering COVID-19 vaccine, myocarditis, and cardiac MRI. Individual-level patient data (IPD) and aggregated-level data (AD) studies were pooled through a two-stage analysis method. For this purpose, all IPD were first gathered into a single data set and reduced to AD, and then this AD (from IPD studies) was pooled with existing AD (from the AD studies) using fixed/random effect models. I2 was used to assess the degree of heterogeneity, and the prespecified level of statistical significance (P value for heterogeneity) was <0.1. Based on meta-analysis of 102 studies (n = 468 patients), 79% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 54%-97%) of patients fulfilled Lake Louise criteria (LLC) for diagnosis of myocarditis. Cardiac MRI abnormalities included elevated T2 in 72% (95% CI: 50%-90%), myocardial late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in 93% (95% CI: 83%-99%; nearly all with a subepicardial and/or midwall pattern), impaired left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (<50%) in 4% (95% CI: 1.0%-9.0%). Moreover, elevated T1 and extracellular volume fraction (ECV) (>30), reported only by some IPD studies, were detected in 74.5% (76/102) and 32% (16/50) of patients, respectively. In conclusion, our findings may suggest that over two-thirds of patients with clinically suspected myocarditis following COVID-19 vaccination meet the LLC. COVID-19 vaccine-associated myocarditis may show a similar pattern compared to other acute myocarditis entities. Notably, preserved LVEF is probably a common finding in these patients. EVIDENCE LEVEL: 4 TECHNICAL EFFICACY: Stage 3.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine; cardiac MRI; myocarditis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines* / adverse effects
  • COVID-19*
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects
  • Gadolinium / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine / methods
  • Myocarditis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Myocarditis* / etiology
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium