PLoS One. 2021 Jul 21;16(7):e0255045. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0255045. eCollection 2021.
PURPOSE: Cardiovascular comorbidity anticipates severe progression of COVID-19 and becomes evident by coronary artery calcification (CAC) on low-dose chest computed tomography (LDCT). The purpose of this study was to predict a patient's obligation of intensive care treatment by evaluating the coronary calcium burden on the initial diagnostic LDCT.
METHODS: Eighty-nine consecutive patients with parallel LDCT and positive RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 were included from three centers. The primary endpoint was admission to ICU, tracheal intubation, or death in the 22-day follow-up period. CAC burden was represented by the Agatston score. Multivariate logistic regression was modeled for prediction of the primary endpoint by the independent variables "Agatston score > 0", as well as the CT lung involvement score, patient sex, age, clinical predictors of severe COVID-19 progression (history of hypertension, diabetes, prior cardiovascular event, active smoking, or hyperlipidemia), and laboratory parameters (creatinine, C-reactive protein, leucocyte, as well as thrombocyte counts, relative lymphocyte count, d-dimer, and lactate dehydrogenase levels).
RESULTS: After excluding multicollinearity, "Agatston score >0" was an independent regressor within multivariate analysis for prediction of the primary endpoint (p<0.01). Further independent regressors were creatinine (p = 0.02) and leucocyte count (p = 0.04). The Agatston score was significantly higher for COVID-19 cases which completed the primary endpoint (64.2 [interquartile range 1.7-409.4] vs. 0 [interquartile range 0-0]).
CONCLUSION: CAC scoring on LDCT might help to predict future obligation of intensive care treatment at the day of patient admission to the hospital.