COVID-19 ARDS is characterized by higher extravascular lung water than non-COVID-19 ARDS: the PiCCOVID study

Crit Care. 2021 Jun 1;25(1):186. doi: 10.1186/s13054-021-03594-6.


Background: In acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), extravascular lung water index (EVLWi) and pulmonary vascular permeability index (PVPI) measured by transpulmonary thermodilution reflect the degree of lung injury. Whether EVLWi and PVPI are different between non-COVID-19 ARDS and the ARDS due to COVID-19 has never been reported. We aimed at comparing EVLWi, PVPI, respiratory mechanics and hemodynamics in patients with COVID-19 ARDS vs. ARDS of other origin.

Methods: Between March and October 2020, in an observational study conducted in intensive care units from three university hospitals, 60 patients with COVID-19-related ARDS monitored by transpulmonary thermodilution were compared to the 60 consecutive non-COVID-19 ARDS admitted immediately before the COVID-19 outbreak between December 2018 and February 2020.

Results: Driving pressure was similar between patients with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 ARDS, at baseline as well as during the study period. Compared to patients without COVID-19, those with COVID-19 exhibited higher EVLWi, both at the baseline (17 (14-21) vs. 15 (11-19) mL/kg, respectively, p = 0.03) and at the time of its maximal value (24 (18-27) vs. 21 (15-24) mL/kg, respectively, p = 0.01). Similar results were observed for PVPI. In COVID-19 patients, the worst ratio between arterial oxygen partial pressure over oxygen inspired fraction was lower (81 (70-109) vs. 100 (80-124) mmHg, respectively, p = 0.02) and prone positioning and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) were more frequently used than in patients without COVID-19. COVID-19 patients had lower maximal lactate level and maximal norepinephrine dose than patients without COVID-19. Day-60 mortality was similar between groups (57% vs. 65%, respectively, p = 0.45). The maximal value of EVLWi and PVPI remained independently associated with outcome in the whole cohort.

Conclusion: Compared to ARDS patients without COVID-19, patients with COVID-19 had similar lung mechanics, but higher EVLWi and PVPI values from the beginning of the disease. This was associated with worse oxygenation and with more requirement of prone positioning and ECMO. This is compatible with the specific lung inflammation and severe diffuse alveolar damage related to COVID-19. By contrast, patients with COVID-19 had fewer hemodynamic derangement. Eventually, mortality was similar between groups.

Trial registration number and date of registration: (NCT04337983). Registered 30 March 2020-Retrospectively registered, .

Keywords: Hemodynamic monitoring; Mechanical ventilation; SARS-CoV-2; Transpulmonary thermodilution.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / metabolism*
  • Capillary Permeability*
  • Extravascular Lung Water / metabolism*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Edema / metabolism
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Thermodilution

Associated data