Echocardiographic Evaluation of Right Ventricular (RV) Performance over Time in COVID-19-Associated ARDS-A Prospective Observational Study

J Clin Med. 2021 May 1;10(9):1944. doi: 10.3390/jcm10091944.


(1) Background: To evaluate time-dependent right ventricular (RV) performance in patients with COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) undergoing intensive care (ICU) treatment. (2) Methods: This prospective observational study included 21 ICU patients with COVID-19-associated ARDS in a university hospital in 2020 (first wave). Patients were evaluated by transthoracic echocardiography at an early (EE) and late (LE) stage of disease. Echocardiographic parameters describing RV size and function as well as RV size in correlation to PaO2/FiO2 ratio were assessed in survivors and nonsurvivors. (3) Results: Echocardiographic RV parameters were within normal range and not significantly different between EE and LE. Comparing survivors and nonsurvivors revealed no differences in RV performance at EE. Linear regression analysis did not show a correlation between RV size and PaO2/FiO2 ratio over all measurements. Analysing EE and LE separately showed a significant increase in RV size correlated to a lower PaO2/FiO2 ratio at a later stage of COVID-19 ARDS. (4) Conclusion: The present study reveals neither a severe RV dilatation nor an impairment of systolic RV function during the initial course of COVID-19-associated ARDS. A trend towards an increase in RV size in correlation with ARDS severity in the second week after ICU admission was observed.

Keywords: ARDS; COVID-19; RV function; intensive care; transthoracic echocardiography.