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How Athletes Should Return To Their Regular Routines, New Study Guides - medtigo

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How Athletes Should Return To Their Regular Routines, New Study Guides

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Several professional and collegiate sports leagues canceled major events and seasons throughout the pandemic to counter the spread of COVID-19 and alarming reports of athletes developing myocarditis after contracting COVID-19.

The American College of Cardiology released guidance this week after two years of research, stating that heart inflammation among professional athletes after COVID-19 is lower than previously thought. However, they still recommend a step-by-step plan to help competitive athletes and weekend warriors alike return to their activities securely.

The ACC Expert Consensus Decision Pathway was published in the American College of Cardiology Journal. It states that “for athletes recovering from COVID-19 with ongoing cardiopulmonary symptoms… further evaluation should be performed before resuming exercise.” “Additional cardiac testing is not recommended for all others who are asymptomatic or have symptoms less suggestive of a cardiopulmonary etiology,” ABC News reports.

The co-director of the Cleveland Clinic Sports Cardiology Center, Dr. Tamanna Singh, who was not involved in the new guidance, said that doctors were performing “very rigorous testing searching for myocarditis” early in the pandemic and that they were concerned that the incidence of myocarditis “was going to be much higher than it was.”

Ohio State University researchers examined 26 athletes following a mild COVID-19 infection that did not require hospitalization in September 2020, when much about COVID-19 was still unknown. In 15 percent of the athletes, myocarditis was discovered, and 30 percent had developed a scar on their hearts, raising concerns about the safety of athletes returning to play after infection, reported by ABC News.

“Although the evidence on cardiomyopathy is preliminary and inadequate, the uncertain risk was unacceptable at this time,” Kevin Warren, Big Ten commissioner, wrote in an open letter in August 2020, announcing the cancellation of the college conference’s fall sports season for 2020-2021.

However, it was discovered that the incidence appears to be much lower than previously thought.

“Every athlete who recovered from COVID was subjected to cardiac MRIs. The incidence of serious MRI abnormalities was extremely low, on the order of 1 to 2%,” Dr. Nicole Bhave, a cardiologist and echocardiographer at the University of Michigan who is also a co-chair of the committee that released this new guidance, said.

According to Singh, myocarditis involvement in athletes is “very rare,” with rates typically ranging from 0.6 to 0.7 percent.

While specialists’ comprehension of COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is evident that many patients continue to experience symptoms after infection, whether they are obvious or subtle. While not every athlete with COVID-19 will develop myocarditis, it is severe enough to warrant medical attention.

“Myocarditis is a rare but serious COVID complication,” Bhave explained. According to the new ACC guidance, athletes with no symptoms from COVID-19 can return to exercise three days after self-isolation. It is safe to rejoin workout sessions once mild symptoms that do not involve the heart or lungs have passed.

Athletes who experience persistent chest pain, palpitations, or pass out should undergo additional cardiac testing. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) recommends avoiding exercise for three to six months if the findings concern myocarditis.

“We don’t believe that everyone who has had COVID should have a routine MRI before they start exercising again,” Bhave said.

The recovery process for athletes who have long-haul COVID-19 symptoms can be frustrating.

Both Singh and Bhave agreed that exercise should be gradually reintroduced after an infection, starting with small amounts and gradually increasing frequency, duration, and intensity as tolerated.

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