PLoS One 16 (12) e0261315 [2021-12-14; online 2021-12-14]
We investigated the prevalence of ECG abnormalities and their association with mortality, organ dysfunction and cardiac biomarkers in a cohort of COVID-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). This cohort study included patients with COVID-19 admitted to the ICU of a tertiary hospital in Sweden. ECG, clinical data and laboratory findings during ICU stay were extracted from medical records and ECGs obtained near ICU admission were reviewed by two independent physicians. Eighty patients had an acceptable ECG near ICU-admission. In the entire cohort 30-day mortality was 28%. Compared to patients with normal ECG, among whom 30-day mortality was 16%, patients with ECG fulfilling criteria for prior myocardial infarction had higher mortality, 63%, odds ratio (OR) 9.61 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.02-55.6) adjusted for Simplified Acute Physiology Score 3 and patients with ST-T abnormalities had 50% mortality and OR 6.05 (95% CI 1.82-21.3) in univariable analysis. Both prior myocardial infarction pattern and ST-T pathology were associated with need for vasoactive treatment and higher peak plasma levels of troponin-I, NT-pro-BNP (N-terminal pro-Brain Natriuretic Peptide), and lactate during ICU stay compared to patients with normal ECG. ECG with prior myocardial infarction pattern or acute ST-T pathology at ICU admission is associated with death, need for vasoactive treatment and higher levels of biomarkers of cardiac damage and strain in severely ill COVID-19 patients, and should alert clinicians to a poor prognosis.