ResearchPad - fast-track-clinical-research Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Characteristics and outcomes of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and cardiac disease in Northern Italy]]> To compare demographic characteristics, clinical presentation, and outcomes of patients with and without concomitant cardiac disease, hospitalized for COVID-19 in Brescia, Lombardy, Italy.Methods and resultsThe study population includes 99 consecutive patients with COVID-19 pneumonia admitted to our hospital between 4 March and 25 March 2020. Fifty-three patients with a history of cardiac disease were compared with 46 without cardiac disease. Among cardiac patients, 40% had a history of heart failure, 36% had atrial fibrillation, and 30% had coronary artery disease. Mean age was 67 ± 12 years, and 80 (81%) patients were males. No differences were found between cardiac and non-cardiac patients except for higher values of serum creatinine, N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide, and high sensitivity troponin T in cardiac patients. During hospitalization, 26% patients died, 15% developed thrombo-embolic events, 19% had acute respiratory distress syndrome, and 6% had septic shock. Mortality was higher in patients with cardiac disease compared with the others (36% vs. 15%, log-rank P = 0.019; relative risk 2.35; 95% confidence interval 1.08–5.09). The rate of thrombo-embolic events and septic shock during the hospitalization was also higher in cardiac patients (23% vs. 6% and 11% vs. 0%, respectively).ConclusionsHospitalized patients with concomitant cardiac disease and COVID-19 have an extremely poor prognosis compared with subjects without a history of cardiac disease, with higher mortality, thrombo-embolic events, and septic shock rates. ]]> <![CDATA[At the heart of COVID-19]]>

<![CDATA[Circulating plasma concentrations of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 in men and women with heart failure and effects of renin–angiotensin–aldosterone inhibitors]]> The current pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infects a wide age group but predominantly elderly individuals, especially men and those with cardiovascular disease. Recent reports suggest an association with use of renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a functional receptor for coronaviruses. Higher ACE2 concentrations might lead to increased vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 in patients on RAAS inhibitors.Methods and resultsWe measured ACE2 concentrations in 1485 men and 537 women with heart failure (index cohort). Results were validated in 1123 men and 575 women (validation cohort).The median age was 69 years for men and 75 years for women. The strongest predictor of elevated concentrations of ACE2 in both cohorts was male sex (estimate = 0.26, P < 0.001; and 0.19, P < 0.001, respectively). In the index cohort, use of ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRAs) was not an independent predictor of plasma ACE2. In the validation cohort, ACE inhibitor (estimate = –0.17, P = 0.002) and ARB use (estimate = –0.15, P = 0.03) were independent predictors of lower plasma ACE2, while use of an MRA (estimate = 0.11, P = 0.04) was an independent predictor of higher plasma ACE2 concentrations.ConclusionIn two independent cohorts of patients with heart failure, plasma concentrations of ACE2 were higher in men than in women, but use of neither an ACE inhibitor nor an ARB was associated with higher plasma ACE2 concentrations. These data might explain the higher incidence and fatality rate of COVID-19 in men, but do not support previous reports suggesting that ACE inhibitors or ARBs increase the vulnerability for COVID-19 through increased plasma ACE2 concentrations. ]]> <![CDATA[Reduction of hospitalizations for myocardial infarction in Italy in the COVID-19 era]]> To evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient admissions to Italian cardiac care units (CCUs).Methods and ResultsWe conducted a multicentre, observational, nationwide survey to collect data on admissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) at Italian CCUs throughout a 1 week period during the COVID-19 outbreak, compared with the equivalent week in 2019. We observed a 48.4% reduction in admissions for AMI compared with the equivalent week in 2019 (P < 0.001). The reduction was significant for both ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction [STEMI; 26.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 21.7–32.3; P = 0.009] and non-STEMI (NSTEMI; 65.1%, 95% CI 60.3–70.3; P < 0.001). Among STEMIs, the reduction was higher for women (41.2%; P = 0.011) than men (17.8%; P = 0.191). A similar reduction in AMI admissions was registered in North Italy (52.1%), Central Italy (59.3%), and South Italy (52.1%). The STEMI case fatality rate during the pandemic was substantially increased compared with 2019 [risk ratio (RR) = 3.3, 95% CI 1.7–6.6; P < 0.001]. A parallel increase in complications was also registered (RR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1–2.8; P = 0.009).ConclusionAdmissions for AMI were significantly reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic across Italy, with a parallel increase in fatality and complication rates. This constitutes a serious social issue, demanding attention by the scientific and healthcare communities and public regulatory agencies. ]]> <![CDATA[Characteristics and clinical significance of myocardial injury in patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019]]> To investigate the characteristics and clinical significance of myocardial injury in patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).Methods and resultsWe enrolled 671 eligible hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 from 1 January to 23 February 2020, with a median age of 63 years. Clinical, laboratory, and treatment data were collected and compared between patients who died and survivors. Risk factors of death and myocardial injury were analysed using multivariable regression models. A total of 62 patients (9.2%) died, who more often had myocardial injury (75.8% vs. 9.7%; P < 0.001) than survivors. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of initial cardiac troponin I (cTnI) for predicting in-hospital mortality was 0.92 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.87–0.96; sensitivity, 0.86; specificity, 0.86; P < 0.001]. The single cut-off point and high level of cTnI predicted risk of in-hospital death, hazard ratio (HR) was 4.56 (95% CI, 1.28–16.28; P = 0.019) and 1.25 (95% CI, 1.07–1.46; P = 0.004), respectively. In multivariable logistic regression, senior age, comorbidities (e.g. hypertension, coronary heart disease, chronic renal failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and high level of C-reactive protein were predictors of myocardial injury.ConclusionThe risk of in-hospital death among patients with severe COVID-19 can be predicted by markers of myocardial injury, and was significantly associated with senior age, inflammatory response, and cardiovascular comorbidities. ]]> <![CDATA[Plasma angiotensin-converting enzyme 2: novel biomarker in heart failure with implications for COVID-19]]> <![CDATA[A comprehensive analysis of the effects of rivaroxaban on stroke or transient ischaemic attack in patients with heart failure, coronary artery disease, and sinus rhythm: the COMMANDER HF trial]]>



Stroke is often a devastating event among patients with heart failure with reduced ejection (HFrEF). In COMMANDER HF, rivaroxaban 2.5 mg b.i.d. did not reduce the composite of first occurrence of death, stroke, or myocardial infarction compared with placebo in patients with HFrEF, coronary artery disease (CAD), and sinus rhythm. We now examine the incidence, timing, type, severity, and predictors of stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), and seek to establish the net clinical benefit of treatment with low-dose rivaroxaban.

Methods and results

In this double-blind, randomized trial, 5022 patients who had HFrEF(≤40%), elevated natriuretic peptides, CAD, and who were in sinus rhythm were treated with rivaroxaban 2.5 mg b.i.d. or placebo in addition to antiplatelet therapy, after an episode of worsening HF. The primary neurological outcome for this post hoc analysis was time to first event of any stroke or TIA. Over a median follow-up of 20.5 (25th–75th percentiles 20.0–20.9) months, 150 all-cause stroke (127) or TIA (23) events occurred (ischaemic stroke in 82% and haemorrhagic stroke in 11% of stroke events). Overall, 47.5% of first-time strokes were either disabling (16.5%) or fatal (31%). Prior stroke, low body mass index, geographic region, and the CHA2DS2-VASc score were predictors of stroke/TIA. Rivaroxaban significantly reduced the primary neurological endpoint of all-cause stroke or TIA compared with placebo by 32% (1.29 events vs. 1.90 events per 100 patient-years), adjusted for the time from index HF event to randomization and stratified by geographic region (adjusted hazard ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval 0.49–0.94), with a number needed to treat of 164 patients per year to prevent one stroke/TIA event. The principal safety endpoint of fatal bleeding or bleeding into a critical space, occurred at a similar rate on rivaroxaban and placebo (0.44 events vs. 0.55 events per 100 patient-years).


Patients with HFrEF and CAD are at risk for stroke or TIA in the period following an episode of worsening heart failure in the absence of atrial fibrillation. Most strokes are of ischaemic origin and nearly half are either disabling or fatal. Rivaroxaban at a dose of 2.5 mg b.i.d. reduced rates of stroke or TIA compared with placebo in this population.

Trial Registration

COMMANDER HF (A Study to Assess the Effectiveness and Safety of Rivaroxaban in Reducing the Risk of Death, Myocardial Infarction, or Stroke in Participants with Heart Failure and Coronary Artery Disease Following an Episode of Decompensated Heart Failure); NCT01877915.