Myocardial injury, detected by elevated plasma troponin levels, has been associated with mortality in patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the initial data were reported from single-center or 2-center studies in Chinese populations. Compared with these patients, European and US patients are older, with more comorbidities and higher mortality rates.
To evaluate the prevalence and prognostic value of myocardial injury, detected by elevated plasma troponin levels, in a large population of White Italian patients with COVID-19.
This is a multicenter, cross-sectional study enrolling consecutive patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who were hospitalized in 13 Italian cardiology units from March 1 to April 9, 2020. Patients admitted for acute coronary syndrome were excluded. Elevated troponin levels were defined as values greater than the 99th percentile of normal values.
Clinical characteristics and outcomes stratified as elevated or normal cardiac troponin levels at admission, defined as troponin T or troponin I at a level greater than the 99th percentile of normal values.
A total of 614 patients with COVID-19 were included in this study (mean age [SD], 67  years; 70.8% male), of whom 148 patients (24.1%) died during the hospitalization. Elevated troponin levels were found in 278 patients (45.3%). These patients were older (mean [SD] age, 64.0 [13.6] years vs 71.3 [12.0] years; P < .001) and had higher prevalence of hypertension (168 patients [50.5%] vs 182 patients [65.9%]; P < .001), heart failure (24 [7.2%]; 63 [22.8%]; P < .001), coronary artery disease (50 [15.0%] vs 87 [31.5%]; P < .001), and atrial fibrillation (33 [9.9%] vs 67 [24.3%]; P < .001). Elevated troponin levels were associated with an increased in-hospital mortality (37% vs 13%; HR, 1.71 [95% CI, 1.13-2.59]; P = .01 via multivariable Cox regression analysis), and this was independent from concomitant cardiac disease. Elevated troponin levels were also associated with a higher risk of in-hospital complications: heart failure (44 patients [19.2%] vs 7 patients [2.9%]; P < .001), sepsis (31 [11.7%] vs 21 [6.4%]; P = .03), acute kidney failure (41 [20.8%] vs 13 [6.2%]; P < .001), multiorgan failure (21 [10.9%] vs 6 [2.9%]; P = .003), pulmonary embolism (27 [9.9%] vs 17 [5.2%]; P = .04), delirium (13 [6.8%] vs 3 [1.5%]; P = .02), and major bleeding (16 [7.0%] vs 4 [1.6%]; P = .008).
In this multicenter, cross-sectional study of Italian patients with COVID-19, elevated troponin was an independent variable associated with in-hospital mortality and a greater risk of cardiovascular and noncardiovascular complications during a hospitalization for COVID-19.