Eur Radiol. 2020 Dec 23. doi: 10.1007/s00330-020-07622-x. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Enlarged main pulmonary artery diameter (MPAD) resulted to be associated with pulmonary hypertension and mortality in a non-COVID-19 setting. The aim was to investigate and validate the association between MPAD enlargement and overall survival in COVID-19 patients.
METHODS: This is a cohort study on 1469 consecutive COVID-19 patients submitted to chest CT within 72 h from admission in seven tertiary level hospitals in Northern Italy, between March 1 and April 20, 2020. Derivation cohort (n = 761) included patients from the first three participating hospitals; validation cohort (n = 633) included patients from the remaining hospitals. CT images were centrally analyzed in a core-lab blinded to clinical data. The prognostic value of MPAD on overall survival was evaluated at adjusted and multivariable Cox's regression analysis on the derivation cohort. The final multivariable model was tested on the validation cohort.
RESULTS: In the derivation cohort, the median age was 69 (IQR, 58-77) years and 537 (70.6%) were males. In the validation cohort, the median age was 69 (IQR, 59-77) years with 421 (66.5%) males. Enlarged MPAD (≥ 31 mm) was a predictor of mortality at adjusted (hazard ratio, HR [95%CI]: 1.741 [1.253-2.418], p < 0.001) and multivariable regression analysis (HR [95%CI]: 1.592 [1.154-2.196], p = 0.005), together with male gender, old age, high creatinine, low well-aerated lung volume, and high pneumonia extension (c-index [95%CI] = 0.826 [0.796-0.851]). Model discrimination was confirmed on the validation cohort (c-index [95%CI] = 0.789 [0.758-0.823]), also using CT measurements from a second reader (c-index [95%CI] = 0.790 [0.753;0.825]).
CONCLUSION: Enlarged MPAD (≥ 31 mm) at admitting chest CT is an independent predictor of mortality in COVID-19.
KEY POINTS: • Enlargement of main pulmonary artery diameter at chest CT performed within 72 h from the admission was associated with a higher rate of in-hospital mortality in COVID-19 patients. • Enlargement of main pulmonary artery diameter (≥ 31 mm) was an independent predictor of death in COVID-19 patients at adjusted and multivariable regression analysis. • The combined evaluation of clinical findings, lung CT features, and main pulmonary artery diameter may be useful for risk stratification in COVID-19 patients.