Early Routine Biomarkers of SARS-CoV-2 Morbidity and Mortality: Outcomes from an Emergency Section

Diagnostics (Basel). 2022 Jan 12;12(1):176. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics12010176.


Background: COVID-19 is a severe acute respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a virus belonging to the Coronaviridae family. This disease has spread rapidly around the world and soon became an international public health emergency leading to an unpredicted pressure on the hospital emergency units. Early routine blood biomarkers could be key predicting factors of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality as suggested for C-reactive protein (CRP), IL-6, prothrombin and D-dimer. This study aims to identify other early routine blood biomarkers for COVID-19 severity prediction disclosed directly into the emergency section.

Methods: Our research was conducted on 156 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the Sapienza University Hospital "Policlinico Umberto I" of Rome, Italy, between March 2020 and April 2020 during the paroxysm's initial phase of the pandemic. In this retrospective study, patients were divided into three groups according to their outcome: (1) emergency group (patients who entered the emergency room and were discharged shortly after because they did not show severe symptoms); (2) intensive care unit (ICU) group (patients who attended the ICU after admission to the emergency unit); (3) the deceased group (patients with a fatal outcome who attended the emergency and, afterward, the ICU units). Routine laboratory tests from medical records were collected when patients were admitted to the emergency unit. We focused on Aspartate transaminase (AST), Alanine transaminase (ALT), Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), Creatine kinase (CK), Myoglobin (MGB), Ferritin, CRP, and D-dimer.

Results: As expected, ANOVA data show an age morbidity increase in both ICU and deceased groups compared with the emergency group. A main effect of morbidity was revealed by ANOVA for all the analyzed parameters with an elevation between the emergency group and the deceased group. Furthermore, a significant increase in LDH, Ferritin, CRP, and D-dimer was also observed between the ICU group and the emergency group and between the deceased group and ICU group. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses confirmed and extended these findings.

Conclusions: This study suggests that the contemporaneous presence of high levels of LDH, Ferritin, and as expected, CRP, and D-dimer could be considered as potential predictors of COVID-19 severity and death.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; biomarker; early predictor; emergency section; intensive care unit; morbidity; mortality.