Norderfeldt J, Liliequist A, Frostell C, Adding C, Agvald P, Eriksson M, Lönnqvist PA
Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 65 (6) 761-769 [2021-07-00; online 2021-03-27]
Critically ill Covid-19 pneumonia patients are likely to develop the sequence of acute pulmonary hypertension, right ventricular (RV) strain, and eventually RV failure due to known pathophysiology (endothelial inflammation plus thrombo-embolism) that promotes increased pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary artery pressure. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of acute pulmonary hypertension (aPH) as per established trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE) criteria in Covid-19 patients receiving intensive care and to explore whether short-term outcomes are affected by the presence of aPH. Medical records were reviewed for patients treated in the intensive care units at a tertiary university hospital over a month. The presence of aPH on the TTE was noted, and plasma NTproBNP and troponin were measured as markers of cardiac failure and myocardial injury, respectively. Follow-up data were collected 21 d after the performance of TTE. In total, 26 of 67 patients (39%) had an assessed systolic pulmonary artery pressure of > 35 mmHg (group aPH), meeting the TTE definition of aPH. NTproBNP levels (median [range]: 1430 [102-30 300] vs. 470 [45-29 600] ng L-1 ; P = .0007), troponin T levels (63 [22-352] vs. 15 [5-407] ng L-1 ; P = .0002), and the 21-d mortality rate (46% vs. 7%; P < .001) were substantially higher in patients with aPH compared to patients not meeting aPH criteria. TTE-defined acute pulmonary hypertension was frequently observed in severely ill Covid-19 patients. Furthermore, aPH was linked to biomarker-defined myocardial injury and cardiac failure, as well as an almost sevenfold increase in 21-d mortality.