Acute right ventricular dysfunction in severe COVID-19 pneumonia

Rev Cardiovasc Med. 2020 Dec 30;21(4):635-641. doi: 10.31083/j.rcm.2020.04.159.


To investigate the right heart function in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a retrospective analysis of 49 COVID-19 patients with ARDS was performed. Patients were divided into severe group and critically-severe group according to the severity of illness. Age-matched healthy volunteers were recruited as a control group. The cardiac cavity diameters, tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE), tricuspid valve regurgitation pressure gradient biggest (TRPG), pulmonary arterial systolic pressure (PASP), maximum inferior vena cava diameter (IVCmax) and minimum diameter (IVCmin), and inferior vena cava collapse index (ICV-CI) were measured using echocardiography. We found that the TAPSE was significantly decreased in pneumonia patients compared to healthy subjects (P < 0.0001), and it was significantly lower in critically-severe patients (P = 0.0068). The TAPSE was less than 17 mm in three (8.6%) severe and five (35.7%) critically-severe patients. In addition, the TAPSE was significantly decreased in severe ARDS patients than in mild ARDS patients. The IVCmax and IVCmin were significantly increased in critically-severe patients compared to healthy subjects and severe patients (P < 0.01), whereas the ICV-CI was significantly decreased (P < 0.05). COVID-19 patients had significantly larger right atrium and ventricle than healthy controls (P < 0.01). The left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in critically-severe patients was significantly lower than that in severe patients and healthy controls (P < 0.05). Right ventricular function was impaired in critically-severe COVID-19 patients. The assessment and protection of the right heart function in COVID-19 patients should be strengthened.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019; acute respiratory distress syndrome; echocardiography; retrospective study; right ventricular function.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / etiology*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Function, Right / physiology*