Laboratory parameters in patients with COVID-19 on first emergency admission is different in non-survivors: albumin and lactate dehydrogenase as risk factors

J Clin Pathol. 2020 Oct 6;jclinpath-2020-206865. doi: 10.1136/jclinpath-2020-206865. Online ahead of print.


Prompt identification of the clinical status and severity of COVID-19 can be a challenge in the emergency department (ED), as the clinical severity of the disease is variable, real-time reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) results may not be immediately available, and imaging findings appear approximately 10 days after the onset of symptoms. There is currently no set of simple, readily available and fast battery of tests that can be used in the ED as prognostic factors. The purpose was to study laboratory test results in patients with COVID-19 at hospital emergency admission and to evaluate the results in non-survivors and their potential prognostic value. A profile of laboratory markers was agreed with the ED providers based on the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine recommendation of its usefulness, which was made in 218 patients with COVID-19. Non-survivors were significantly older, and the percentage of patients with pathological values of creatinine, albumin, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), C reactive protein, prothrombin time, D-dimer, and arterial blood gas, PaO2/FIO2 and satO2/FIO2 indices were significantly higher among the patients with COVID-19 who died than those who survived. Patients who died also presented higher neutrophil counts. Among all studied tests, albumin and LDH were independent prognostic factors for death. The results of the study show pathology in nine laboratory markers in patients with COVID-19 admitted in the ED, valuable findings to take into consideration for its prompt identification when there is no immediate availability of RT-PCR results.

Keywords: blood proteins; chemistry; clinical; diagnostic techniques and procedures; infections; medical laboratory science.