Background and aim: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for the current pandemic, can have multi-organ impact. Recent studies show that liver injury could be a manifestation of the disease, and that liver disease could also be related to a worse prognosis. Our aim was to compare the characteristics of patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to SARS-CoV-2 who required intubation versus stable hospitalized patients to identify the early biochemical predictive factors of a severe course of COVID-19 and subsequent requirement for intubation, specifically in Mexican.
Methods: This was an observational case-control study nested in a cohort study. Complete medical records of patients admitted for confirmed COVID-19 at a tertiary level center in Mexico City were reviewed. Clinical and biochemical data were collected, and the characteristics of patients who required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) (cases) were compared with stable hospitalized patients without ventilation (controls).
Results: We evaluated 166 patients with COVID-19 due to SARS-CoV-2 infection; 114 (68.7%) were men, the mean age was 50.6 ± 13.3 years, and 27 (16.3%) required IMV. The comparative analysis between cases and controls showed (respectively) significantly lower blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) (73.5 ± 12.0% vs. 83.0 ± 6.8%, P < 0.0001) and elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (128 (14-1123) IU/L vs. 33 (8-453) IU/L, P = 0.003), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (214 (17-1247) vs. 44 (12-498) IU/L, P = 0.001), lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) (764.6 ± 401.9 IU/L vs. 461.0 ± 185.6 IU/L, P = 0.001), and D-dimer (3463 (524-34,227) ng/mL vs. 829 (152-41,923) ng/mL, P = 0.003) concentrations. Patients in the cases group were older (58.6 ± 12.7 years vs. 49.1 ± 12.8 years, P=0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that important factors at admission predicting the requirement for IMV during hospitalization for COVID-19 were AST ≥250 IU/L (odds ratio (OR) = 64.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 7.5-560.3, P < 0.0001) and D-dimer ≥ 3500 ng/mL (OR = 4.1, 95% CI 1.2-13.7, P=0.02).
Conclusions: Our study confirms the importance of monitoring liver enzymes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19; seriously ill patients have significantly elevated AST and D-dimer concentrations, which have prognostic implications in the SARS-CoV-2 disease course.
Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); D-dimer; Disease severity; Invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV); Liver enzymes; Multi-organ failure; Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
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