Microorganisms. 2020 Dec 16;8(12):E2010. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8122010.
The aim of the present study is to evaluate if an independent association exists between liver enzyme elevations (LEE) and the risk of mortality or intensive care unit (ICU) admissions in patients with COVID-19. This was a single-center observational study, recruiting all consecutive adults with COVID-19. The elevation of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or alanine aminotransferase (ALT) to the highest level between COVID-19 diagnosis and hospital discharge was categorized according to a standardized toxicity grade scale. In total, 799 patients were included in this study, 39% of which were female, with a mean age of 69.9 (±16.0) years. Of these patients, 225 (28.1%) developed LEE of grade ≥2 after a median of three days (interquartile range (IQR): 0-8 days) from the diagnosis of COVID-19, and they were estimated to have a higher hazard of death or ICU admission (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR): 1.46, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14-1.88). The clinical and laboratory variables associated with the development of LEE were male sex, higher respiratory rate, higher gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) and lower albumin levels at baseline. Among the analyzed treatments, steroids, tocilizumab and darunavir/ritonavir correlated with LEE. In conclusion, LEE were associated with mortality and ICU admission among COVID-19 patients. While the origin of LEE is probably multifactorial, LEE evaluation could add information to the clinical and laboratory variables that are commonly evaluated during the course of COVID-19.