Myocardial Injury in Severe COVID-19 Compared With Non-COVID-19 Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARTICLE: Myocardial Injury in Severe COVID-19 Compared With Non-COVID-19 Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

AUTHORS: Thomas S Metkus, Lori J Sokoll, Andreas S BarthMatthew J CzarnyAllison G Hays, Charles J LowensteinErin D Michos, Eric P Nolley, Wendy S PostJon R ResarDavid R ThiemannJeffrey C TrostRani K Hasan

JOURNAL: Circulation. 2021 Feb 9;143(6):553-565. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.050543. Epub 2020 Nov 13.


Background: Knowledge gaps remain in the epidemiology and clinical implications of myocardial injury in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We aimed to determine the prevalence and outcomes of myocardial injury in severe COVID-19 compared with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) unrelated to COVID-19.

Methods: We included intubated patients with COVID-19 from 5 hospitals between March 15 and June 11, 2020, with troponin levels assessed. We compared them with patients from a cohort study of myocardial injury in ARDS and performed survival analysis with primary outcome of in-hospital death associated with myocardial injury. In addition, we performed linear regression to identify clinical factors associated with myocardial injury in COVID-19.

Results: Of 243 intubated patients with COVID-19, 51% had troponin levels above the upper limit of normal. Chronic kidney disease, lactate, ferritin, and fibrinogen were associated with myocardial injury. Mortality was 22.7% among patients with COVID-19 with troponin under the upper limit of normal and 61.5% for those with troponin levels >10 times the upper limit of normal (P<0.001). The association of myocardial injury with mortality was not statistically significant after adjusting for age, sex, and multisystem organ dysfunction. Compared with patients with ARDS without COVID-19, patients with COVID-19 were older and had higher creatinine levels and less favorable vital signs. After adjustment, COVID-19-related ARDS was associated with lower odds of myocardial injury compared with non-COVID-19-related ARDS (odds ratio, 0.55 [95% CI, 0.36-0.84]; P=0.005).

Conclusions: Myocardial injury in severe COVID-19 is a function of baseline comorbidities, advanced age, and multisystem organ dysfunction, similar to traditional ARDS. The adverse prognosis of myocardial injury in COVID-19 relates largely to multisystem organ involvement and critical illness.

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