To describe the cardiac abnormalities in patients with COVID-19 and identify the characteristics of patients who would benefit most from echocardiography.
Methods and results
In a prospective international survey, we captured echocardiography findings in patients with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 between 3 and 20 April 2020. Patient characteristics, indications, findings, and impact of echocardiography on management were recorded. Multivariable logistic regression identified predictors of echocardiographic abnormalities. A total of 1216 patients [62 (52–71) years, 70% male] from 69 countries across six continents were included. Overall, 667 (55%) patients had an abnormal echocardiogram. Left and right ventricular abnormalities were reported in 479 (39%) and 397 (33%) patients, respectively, with evidence of new myocardial infarction in 36 (3%), myocarditis in 35 (3%), and takotsubo cardiomyopathy in 19 (2%). Severe cardiac disease (severe ventricular dysfunction or tamponade) was observed in 182 (15%) patients. In those without pre-existing cardiac disease (n = 901), the echocardiogram was abnormal in 46%, and 13% had severe disease. Independent predictors of left and right ventricular abnormalities were distinct, including elevated natriuretic peptides [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.75–5.05) and cardiac troponin (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.13–2.53) for the former, and severity of COVID-19 symptoms (OR 3.19, 95% CI 1.73–6.10) for the latter. Echocardiography changed management in 33% of patients.
In this global survey, cardiac abnormalities were observed in half of all COVID-19 patients undergoing echocardiography. Abnormalities were often unheralded or severe, and imaging changed management in one-third of patients.