Background: Understanding the clinical course and short-term outcomes of suspected myocarditis following COVID-19 vaccination has important public health implications in the decision to vaccinate youth.
Methods: We retrospectively collected data on patients <21 years-old presenting before 7/4/2021 with suspected myocarditis within 30 days of COVID-19 vaccination. Lake Louise criteria were used for cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) findings. Myocarditis cases were classified as confirmed or probable based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definitions.
Results: We report on 139 adolescents and young adults with 140 episodes of suspected myocarditis (49 confirmed, 91 probable) at 26 centers. Most patients were male (N=126, 90.6%) and White (N=92, 66.2%); 29 (20.9%) were Hispanic; and median age was 15.8 years (range 12.1-20.3, IQR 14.5-17.0). Suspected myocarditis occurred in 136 patients (97.8%) following mRNA vaccine, with 131 (94.2%) following the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; 128 (91.4%) occurred after the 2nd dose. Symptoms started a median of 2 days (range 0-22, IQR 1-3) after vaccination. The most common symptom was chest pain (99.3%). Patients were treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (81.3%), intravenous immunoglobulin (21.6%), glucocorticoids (21.6%), colchicine (7.9%) or no anti-inflammatory therapies (8.6%). Twenty-six patients (18.7%) were in the ICU, two were treated with inotropic/vasoactive support, and none required ECMO or died. Median hospital stay was 2 days (range 0-10, IQR 2-3). All patients had elevated troponin I (N=111, 8.12 ng/mL, IQR 3.50-15.90) or T (N=28, 0.61 ng/mL, IQR 0.25-1.30); 69.8% had abnormal electrocardiograms and/or arrythmias (7 with non-sustained ventricular tachycardia); and 18.7% had left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) <55% on echocardiogram. Of 97 patients who underwent cMRI at median 5 days (range 0-88, IQR 3-17) from symptom onset, 75 (77.3%) had abnormal findings: 74 (76.3%) had late gadolinium enhancement, 54 (55.7%) had myocardial edema, and 49 (50.5%) met Lake Louise criteria. Among 26 patients with LVEF <55% on echocardiogram, all with follow-up had normalized function (N=25).
Conclusions:Most cases of suspected COVID-19 vaccine myocarditis occurring in persons <21 years have a mild clinical course with rapid resolution of symptoms. Abnormal findings on cMRI were frequent. Future studies should evaluate risk factors, mechanisms, and long-term outcomes.