Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri



Coronary inflammation on chest computed tomography and COVID-19 mortality

Tuttolomondo Domenico Parma(PR) РUniversità degli studi di Parma. Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria di Parma. | Gaibazzi Nicola Parma(PR) РAzienda Ospedaliero Universitaria di Parma.

Aims: The main factors associated with coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) mortality are age, comorbidities, pattern of inflammatory response and SARS-CoV-2 lineage involved in infection. However, the clinical course of the disease is extremely heterogeneous, and reliable biomarkers predicting adverse prognosis are lacking. Our aim was to elucidate the prognostic role of a novel marker of coronary artery disease inflammation, peri-coronary adipose tissue attenuation (PCAT), available from high-resolution chest computed tomography (HRCT), in COVID-19 patients with severe disease requiring hospitalization.

Methods and Results: Two distinct groups of patients, admitted to Parma University Hospital in Italy with COVID-19 in March 2020 and March 2021 (first and third wave peaks of COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, with prevalence of wild-type and B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, respectively) were retrospectively enrolled. The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality. Demographic, clinical, laboratory, HRCT data and coronary artery HRCT features (coronary calcium score and PCAT attenuation) were collected to establish which variables were associated with mortality. Among the 769 patients enrolled, 555 (72%) were discharged alive and 214 (28%) died. In multivariable logistic regression analysis age (0.001), number of chronic illnesses (0.001), smoking habit (p=0.006), P/F ratio (p=0.001), platelet count (p=0.002), blood creatinine (0.001), non-invasive mechanical ventilation (0.001), HRCT visual score (0.001) and PCAT (0.001), but not the calcium score, were independently associated with in-hospital mortality.

Conclusion: Coronary inflammation, measured with PCAT on HRCT, was independently associated with higher mortality in patients with severe COVID-19, while the pre-existent coronary atherosclerotic burden was not associated with adverse outcomes after adjustment for covariates.