Ann Intensive Care. 2022 Jun 21;12(1):56. doi: 10.1186/s13613-022-01030-8.
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have found an increase in cardiac troponins (cTns) and echocardiographic abnormalities in patients with COVID-19 and reported their association with poor clinical outcomes. Whether acute injury occurs during the course of critical care and if it is associated with cardiac function is unknown. The purpose of this study was to document the incidence of acute myocardial injury (AMInj) and echocardiographically defined left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) systolic dysfunction in consecutive patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) for COVID-19. The relationship between AMInj and echocardiographic abnormalities during the first 14 days of ICU admission was studied. Finally, the association between echocardiographic findings, AMInj and clinical outcome was evaluated.
METHODS: Seventy-four consecutive patients (≥18 years) admitted to the ICU at Linköping University Hospital between 19 Mar 2020 and 31 Dec 2020 for COVID-19 were included. High-sensitivity troponin-T (hsTnT) was measured daily for up to 14 days. Transthoracic echocardiography was conducted within 72 h of ICU admission. Acute myocardial injury was defined as an increased hsTnT > 14ng/l and a > 20% absolute change with or without ischaemic symptoms. LV and RV systolic dysfunction was defined as at least 2 abnormal indicators of systolic function specified by consensus guidelines.
RESULTS: Increased hsTnT was observed in 59% of patients at ICU admission, and 82% developed AMInj with peak levels at 8 (3-13) days after ICU admission. AMInj was not statistically significantly associated with 30-day mortality but was associated with an increased duration of invasive mechanical ventilation (10 (3-13) vs. 5 days (0-9), p=0.001) as well as ICU length of stay (LOS) (19.5 (11-28) vs. 7 days (5-13), p=0.015). After adjustment for SAPS-3 and admission SOFA score, the effect of AMInj was significant only for the duration of mechanical ventilation (p=0.030). The incidence of LV and RV dysfunction was 28% and 22%, respectively. Only indices of LV and RV longitudinal contractility (mitral and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion) were associated with AMInj. Echocardiographic parameters were not associated with clinical outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: Myocardial injury is common in critically ill patients with COVID-19, with AMInj developing in more than 80% after ICU admission. In contrast, LV and RV dysfunction occurred in approximately one-quarter of patients. AMInj was associated with an increased need for mechanical ventilation and ICU LOS but neither AMInj nor ventricular dysfunction was significantly associated with mortality.