Epidemiology of Acute Heart Failure in Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19: An Analysis From the Critical Care Cardiology Trials Network

J Card Fail. 2022 Apr;28(4):675-681. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2021.12.020. Epub 2022 Jan 17.


Background: Acute heart failure (HF) is an important complication of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and has been hypothesized to relate to inflammatory activation.

Methods: We evaluated consecutive intensive care unit (ICU) admissions for COVID-19 across 6 centers in the Critical Care Cardiology Trials Network, identifying patients with vs without acute HF. Acute HF was subclassified as de novo vs acute-on-chronic, based on the absence or presence of prior HF. Clinical features, biomarker profiles and outcomes were compared.

Results: Of 901 admissions to an ICU due to COVID-19, 80 (8.9%) had acute HF, including 18 (2.0%) with classic cardiogenic shock (CS) and 37 (4.1%) with vasodilatory CS. The majority (n = 45) were de novo HF presentations. Compared to patients without acute HF, those with acute HF had higher cardiac troponin and natriuretic peptide levels and similar inflammatory biomarkers; patients with de novo HF had the highest cardiac troponin levels. Notably, among patients critically ill with COVID-19, illness severity (median Sequential Organ Failure Assessment, 8 [IQR, 5-10] vs 6 [4-9]; P = 0.025) and mortality rates (43.8% vs 32.4%; P = 0.040) were modestly higher in patients with vs those without acute HF.

Conclusions: Among patients critically ill with COVID-19, acute HF is distinguished more by biomarkers of myocardial injury and hemodynamic stress than by biomarkers of inflammation.

Keywords: COVID-19; biomarkers; heart failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cardiology*
  • Critical Care
  • Critical Illness / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure* / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure* / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / diagnosis
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / epidemiology
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / therapy
  • Troponin


  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin