Open Heart. 2021 Aug;8(2):e001702. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2021-001702.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the use of echocardiography in patients hospitalised with suspected coronavirus infection and to assess its impact on clinical management.
METHODS: We studied 79 adults from a prospective registry of inpatients with suspected coronavirus infection at a single academic centre. Echocardiographic indications included abnormal biomarkers, shock, cardiac symptoms, arrhythmia, worsening hypoxaemia or clinical deterioration. Study type (limited or complete) was assessed for each patient. The primary outcome measure was echocardiography-related change in clinical management, defined as intensive care transfer, medication changes, altered ventilation parameters or subsequent cardiac procedures within 24 hours of echocardiography. Coronavirus-positive versus coronavirus-negative patient groups were compared. The relationship between echocardiographic findings and coronavirus mortality was assessed.
RESULTS: 56 patients were coronavirus-positive and 23 patients were coronavirus-negative with symptoms attributed to other diagnoses. Coronavirus-positive patients more often received limited echocardiograms (70% vs 26%, p=0.001). The echocardiographic indication for coronavirus-infected patients was frequently worsening hypoxaemia (43% vs 4%) versus chest pain, syncope or clinical heart failure (23% vs 44%). Echocardiography changed management less frequently in coronavirus-positive patients (18% vs 48%, p=0.01). Among coronavirus-positive patients, 14 of 56 (25.0%) died during hospitalisation. Those who died more often had echocardiography to evaluate clinical deterioration (71% vs 24%) and had elevated right ventricular systolic pressures (37 mm Hg vs 25 mm Hg), but other parameters were similar to survivors.
CONCLUSIONS: Echocardiograms performed on hospitalised patients with coronavirus infection were often technically limited, and their findings altered patient management in a minority of patients.