Intern Emerg Med. 2021 May 21:1-8. doi: 10.1007/s11739-021-02733-9. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Cardiac dysfunction, mainly assessed by biomarker alterations, has been described in COVID-19 infection. However, there are still areas of uncertainty regarding its effective role in disease evolution. Aim of this study was to evaluate early echocardiographic parameters in COVID pneumonia and their association with severity disease and prognosis.
METHODS: An echocardiographic examination was performed within 72 h from admission in 64 consecutive patients hospitalized for COVID-19 pneumonia in our medium-intensity care unit, from March 30th to May 15th 2020. Six patients were excluded for inadequate acoustic window.
RESULTS: Fifty-eight consecutive patients were finally enrolled, with a median age of 58 years. Twenty-two (38%) were classifiable as severe COVID-19 disease. Eight out of 58 patients experienced adverse evolution (six died, two were admitted to ICU and received mechanical ventilation), all of them in the severe pneumonia group. Severe pneumonia patients showed higher troponin, IL-6 and D-Dimer values. No significant new onset alterations of left and right ventricular systolic function parameters were observed. Patients with severe pneumonia showed higher mean estimated systolic pulmonary artery pressure (sPAP) (30.7 ± 5.2 mmHg vs 26.2 ± 4.3 mmHg, p = 0.006), even if in the normality range values. No differences in echocardiographic parameters were retrieved in patients with adverse events with respect to those with favorable clinical course.
CONCLUSION: A mild sPAP increase in severe pneumonia patients with respect to those with milder disease was the only significant finding at early echocardiographic examination, without other signs of new onset major cardiac dysfunction. Future studies are needed to deepen the knowledge regarding minor cardiac functional perturbation in the evolution of a complex systemic disorder, in which the respiratory involvement appears as the main character, at least in non-ICU patients.