Long COVID and the cardiovascular system - elucidating causes and cellular mechanisms in order to develop targeted diagnostic and therapeutic strategies: a joint Scientific Statement of the ESC Working Groups on Cellular Biology of the Heart and Myocardial and Pericardial Diseases

Mariann Gyöngyösi*, Pilar Alcaide, Folkert W Asselbergs, Bianca J J M Brundel, Giovanni G Camici, Paula da Costa Martins, Péter Ferdinandy, Marianna Fontana, Henrique Girao, Massimiliano Gnecchi, Can Gollmann-Tepeköylü, Petra Kleinbongard, Thomas Krieg, Rosalinda Madonna, Melanie Paillard, Antonis Pantazis, Cinzia Perrino, Maurizio Pesce, Gabriele G Schiattarella, Joost P G SluijterSabine Steffens, Carsten Tschöpe, Sophie Van Linthout, Sean M Davidson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

9 Citations (Web of Science)


Long COVID has become a world-wide, non-communicable epidemic, caused by long-lasting multi-organ symptoms that endure for weeks or months after SARS-CoV-2 infection has already subsided. This scientific document aims to provide insight into the possible causes and therapeutic options available for the cardiovascular manifestations of long COVID. In addition to chronic fatigue, which is a common symptom of long COVID, patients may present with chest pain, ECG abnormalities, postural orthostatic tachycardia, or newly developed supraventricular or ventricular arrhythmias. Imaging of the heart and vessels has provided evidence of chronic, post-infectious peri-myocarditis with consequent left or right ventricular failure, arterial wall inflammation or micro-thrombosis in certain patient populations. Better understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of long COVID will aid in the development of effective treatment strategies for its cardiovascular manifestations. A number of mechanisms have been proposed, including those involving direct effects on the myocardium, micro-thrombotic damage to vessels or endothelium, or persistent inflammation. Unfortunately, existing circulating biomarkers, coagulation and inflammatory markers, are not highly predictive for either the presence or outcome of long COVID when measured 3 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further studies are needed to understand underlying mechanisms, identify specific biomarkers and guide future preventive strategies or treatments to address long COVID and its cardiovascular sequelae.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbercvac115
Number of pages21
JournalCardiovascular Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2022

Cite this