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BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disproportionately affects older people. Observational studies suggest indolent cardiovascular involvement after recovery from acute COVID-19. However, these findings may reflect pre-existing cardiac phenotypes. AIMS: We tested the association of baseline cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) phenotypes with incident COVID-19. METHODS: We studied UK Biobank participants with CMR imaging and COVID-19 testing. We considered left and right ventricular (LV, RV) volumes, ejection fractions, and stroke volumes, LV mass, LV strain, native T1, aortic distensibility, and arterial stiffness index. COVID-19 test results were obtained from Public Health England. Co-morbidities were ascertained from self-report and hospital episode statistics (HES). Critical care admission and death were from HES and death register records. We investigated the association of each cardiovascular measure with COVID-19 test result in multivariable logistic regression models adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation, body mass index, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and prior myocardial infarction. RESULTS: We studied 310 participants (n = 70 positive). Median age was 63.8 [57.5, 72.1] years; 51.0% (n = 158) were male. 78.7% (n = 244) were tested in hospital, 3.5% (n = 11) required critical care admission, and 6.1% (n = 19) died. In fully adjusted models, smaller LV/RV end-diastolic volumes, smaller LV stroke volume, and poorer global longitudinal strain were associated with significantly higher odds of COVID-19 positivity. DISCUSSION: We demonstrate association of pre-existing adverse CMR phenotypes with greater odds of COVID-19 positivity independent of classical cardiovascular risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: Observational reports of cardiovascular involvement after COVID-19 may, at least partly, reflect pre-existing cardiac status rather than COVID-19 induced alterations.

Original publication




Journal article


Aging Clin Exp Res

Publication Date





1133 - 1144


Cardiovascular magnetic resonance, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Biological Specimen Banks, COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Male, Phenotype, Predictive Value of Tests, SARS-CoV-2, Stroke Volume, United Kingdom, Ventricular Function, Left