Publication Date



coronavirus, COVID-19, echocardiography, left ventricle, right ventricle, intensive care unit


Purpose: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presents with a spectrum of disease severity, the most serious cases requiring intensive care. Echocardiography is a front-line tool in evaluating cardiovascular complications of COVID-19 in the intensive care unit (ICU); we analyzed transthoracic echocardiograms obtained from this patient population with state-of-the-art ultrasound technology.

Methods: All patients with COVID-19 requiring ICU admission on whom a transthoracic echocardiogram was obtained were included in the study. Focused transthoracic protocols were performed by experienced sonographers. Echocardiographic variables, including speckle-tracking echocardiography, were collected and analyzed. Clinical information was obtained from the electronic medical record. Patients were followed until discharge.

Results: Of 52 total patients (mean age: 59.9 ± 11.6 years), 59.6% were male and 15 (29%) had known prior cardiac disease. Cardiac complications identified on echocardiography were prevalent, occurring in 55.7% of patients. Patients with known prior cardiac disease were more likely to have new or worsening left ventricular dysfunction. Right ventricular dysfunction was the most common abnormality (assessed qualitatively in 18 cases and with advanced echocardiographic methods in 34 cases). Known prior cardiac disease, right ventricular enlargement, and pulmonary hypertension were significantly associated with morbidity and mortality.

Conclusions: Patients requiring intensive care for COVID-19 face significant morbidity and mortality, and cardiac complications occur in the majority of patients admitted to the ICU with COVID-19. Those with known prior cardiac disease fare worse, and other echocardiographic findings (right ventricular enlargement, pulmonary hypertension) are also associated with worse outcomes. State-of-the-art echocardiography performed by experienced sonographers can be critical to identifying cardiac complications and guiding ICU strategy.




July 29th, 2020


December 14th, 2020


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