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Original Investigation
March 27, 2020

Cardiovascular Implications of Fatal Outcomes of Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Cardiology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
  • 2Department of Urology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(7):811-818. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2020.1017
Key Points

Question  What is the impact of underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD) and myocardial injury on fatal outcomes in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Findings  In this case series study of 187 patients with COVID-19, 27.8% of patients had myocardial injury, which resulted in cardiac dysfunction and arrhythmias. Myocardial injury has a significant association with fatal outcome of COVID-19, while the prognosis of patients with underlying CVD but without myocardial injury were relatively favorable.

Meaning  It is reasonable to triage patients with COVID-19 according to the presence of underlying CVD and evidence of myocardial injury for prioritized treatment and even more aggressive strategies.

Abstract

Importance  Increasing numbers of confirmed cases and mortality rates of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are occurring in several countries and continents. Information regarding the impact of cardiovascular complication on fatal outcome is scarce.

Objective  To evaluate the association of underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD) and myocardial injury with fatal outcomes in patients with COVID-19.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This retrospective single-center case series analyzed patients with COVID-19 at the Seventh Hospital of Wuhan City, China, from January 23, 2020, to February 23, 2020. Analysis began February 25, 2020.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Demographic data, laboratory findings, comorbidities, and treatments were collected and analyzed in patients with and without elevation of troponin T (TnT) levels.

Results  Among 187 patients with confirmed COVID-19, 144 patients (77%) were discharged and 43 patients (23%) died. The mean (SD) age was 58.50 (14.66) years. Overall, 66 (35.3%) had underlying CVD including hypertension, coronary heart disease, and cardiomyopathy, and 52 (27.8%) exhibited myocardial injury as indicated by elevated TnT levels. The mortality during hospitalization was 7.62% (8 of 105) for patients without underlying CVD and normal TnT levels, 13.33% (4 of 30) for those with underlying CVD and normal TnT levels, 37.50% (6 of 16) for those without underlying CVD but elevated TnT levels, and 69.44% (25 of 36) for those with underlying CVD and elevated TnTs. Patients with underlying CVD were more likely to exhibit elevation of TnT levels compared with the patients without CVD (36 [54.5%] vs 16 [13.2%]). Plasma TnT levels demonstrated a high and significantly positive linear correlation with plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels (β = 0.530, P < .001) and N-terminal pro–brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels (β = 0.613, P < .001). Plasma TnT and NT-proBNP levels during hospitalization (median [interquartile range (IQR)], 0.307 [0.094-0.600]; 1902.00 [728.35-8100.00]) and impending death (median [IQR], 0.141 [0.058-0.860]; 5375 [1179.50-25695.25]) increased significantly compared with admission values (median [IQR], 0.0355 [0.015-0.102]; 796.90 [401.93-1742.25]) in patients who died (P = .001; P < .001), while no significant dynamic changes of TnT (median [IQR], 0.010 [0.007-0.019]; 0.013 [0.007-0.022]; 0.011 [0.007-0.016]) and NT-proBNP (median [IQR], 352.20 [174.70-636.70]; 433.80 [155.80-1272.60]; 145.40 [63.4-526.50]) was observed in survivors (P = .96; P = .16). During hospitalization, patients with elevated TnT levels had more frequent malignant arrhythmias, and the use of glucocorticoid therapy (37 [71.2%] vs 69 [51.1%]) and mechanical ventilation (31 [59.6%] vs 14 [10.4%]) were higher compared with patients with normal TnT levels. The mortality rates of patients with and without use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers was 36.8% (7 of 19) and 21.4% (36 of 168) (P = .13).

Conclusions and Relevance  Myocardial injury is significantly associated with fatal outcome of COVID-19, while the prognosis of patients with underlying CVD but without myocardial injury is relatively favorable. Myocardial injury is associated with cardiac dysfunction and arrhythmias. Inflammation may be a potential mechanism for myocardial injury. Aggressive treatment may be considered for patients at high risk of myocardial injury.

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