Background: Acute myocardial injury is associated with poor prognosis in respiratory tract infections. We aimed to highlight the differences in prevalence of myocardial injury and its impact on prognosis in patients with COVID-19 compared to those with seasonal influenza.
Methods: This was a single-center prospective cohort study with a historical control group. 300 age-/sex-matched SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal influenza positive patients were enrolled. Myocardial injury was assessed by electrocardiogram (ECG), transthoracic echocardiography and biomarkers including high-sensitivity troponin-I. All patients were followed-up for 30 days after enrollment for all-cause mortalitiy, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) and mechanical ventilation.
Results: Right ventricular distress was more common in COVID-19 whereas pathological ECG findings and impaired left ventricular function were more prevalent among influenza patients. COVID-19 patients suffered from a higher percentage of hypertension and dyslipidaemia. Contrary to COVID-19, pericardial effusion at admission was associated with poor outcome in the influenza group. Severe course of disease and respiratory failure resulted in significantly higher rates of ICU treatment and mechanical ventilation in COVID-19 patients. Although distribution of myocardial injury was similar, significantly fewer cardiac catheterizations were performed in COVID-19 patients. However, number of cardiac catheterizations was low in both groups. Finally, 30-day mortality was significantly higher in COVID-19 compared to influenza patients.
Conclusions: In adults requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19 or seasonal influenza, cardiovascular risk factors and signs of myocardial distress differ significantly. Furthermore, cardiovascular comorbidities may impair prognosis in COVID-19 patients to a higher degree than in their influenza counterparts.