Scientists find a link between mild heart problem, COVID vaccine

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In a new study from the University of Massachusetts, researchers reported on a case of mild heart inflammation in a young male who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted health care professionals that it is reviewing several dozen cases of myocarditis that have been reported in adolescents and young adults after the second vaccine dose.

The team documented the experience of a 24-year-old man who presented with acute substernal chest pain four days after receiving his second Moderna vaccine, similar to what was described in the CDC findings.

His diagnosis was confirmed via cardiac MRI, which provides direct visual evidence of inflammation of the heart muscle and the sac surrounding it, the pericardium.

Cardiac MRI has emerged as the principal imaging tool used to diagnose myocarditis.

The data suggest a small risk of myocarditis, inflammation in and around the heart, following infection, as well as a thrombosis-related heart attack.

The team identified six additional cases of myocarditis, all in men between the ages of 17 and 35.

The patients became sick within four days of their second vaccine, and they suffered from mild complications, including shortness of breath and chest pain. Their heart function was not strongly damaged.

The team says it seems likely that the immune response to the infection or the vaccine plays a role.

Other vaccines have been shown to carry a rare risk of myocarditis as well, including the influenza vaccine. Experts recommend reporting any heart-related symptoms to a health care professional.

While officials continue to investigate the link, experts recommend that adolescents and young adults continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The study is published in Radiology Case Reports. One author of the study is Gerard Aurigemma, MD.

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