17 junio, 2021

COVID-19-induced Vascular Inflammation Behind Mortality Risk

COVID-19 infection is associated with a unique vascular inflammation ‘signature’ that, when present in at-risk individuals, increases the risk of in-hospital mortality around three-fold, shows an innovative data analysis of thousands of UK angiography patients.

The results, presented at the British Cardiovascular Society 2021 Annual Conference on June 10, may also explain why the cheap and widely-used steroid dexamethasone is able to reduce mortality rates in COVID-19 patients.

Dr Charalambos Antoniades, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and colleagues were already conducting a large-scale, artificial intelligence (AI)-led analysis of patients undergoing computed tomography (CT) angiograms of their heart when the pandemic struck.

They quickly repurposed their study to examine whether feature extraction of the CT scans could be combined with RNA sequencing to identify a profile of vascular inflammation induced by COVID-19 infection.

One Extra Step

The study, which was co-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BFH), showed that not only was an inflammation signature identifiable but also that it could be used to predict in-hospital mortality, particularly in those not given dexamethasone therapy.

“By simply adding in one extra step to the routine care of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 who already have a CT scan, we can now detect patients at high risk of life-threatening complications and could potentially tailor their treatment to aid long-term recovery,” Dr Antoniades said in a press release.

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