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08-07-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 7-8/2020 Open Access

Netherlands Heart Journal 7-8/2020

Cardiac function in relation to myocardial injury in hospitalised patients with COVID-19

Netherlands Heart Journal > Uitgave 7-8/2020
F. M. A. van den Heuvel, J. L. Vos, Y. Koop, A. P. J. van Dijk, A. L. Duijnhouwer, Q. de Mast, F. L. van de Veerdonk, F. Bosch, B. Kok, M. G. Netea, J. Hoogerwerf, W. Hoefsloot, E. T. T. L. Tjwa, C. L. de Korte, R. R. J. van Kimmenade, R. Nijveldt
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12471-020-01458-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Previous studies have reported on myocardial injury in patients with coronavirus infectious disease 19 (COVID-19) defined as elevated cardiac biomarkers. Whether elevated biomarkers truly represent myocardial dysfunction is not known. The aim of this study was to explore the incidence of ventricular dysfunction and assess its relationship with biomarker analyses.


This cross-sectional study ran from April 1 to May 12, 2020, and consisted of all consecutively admitted patients to the Radboud university medical centre nursing ward for COVID-19. Laboratory assessment included high-sensitivity Troponin T and N‑terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP). Echocardiographic evaluation focused on left and right ventricular systolic function and global longitudinal strain (GLS).


In total, 51 patients were included, with a median age of 63 years (range 51–68 years) of whom 80% was male. Troponin T was elevated (>14 ng/l) in 47%, and a clinically relevant Troponin T elevation (10 × URL) was found in three patients (6%). NT-proBNP was elevated (>300 pg/ml) in 24 patients (47%), and in four (8%) the NT-proBNP concentration was >1,000 pg/ml. Left ventricular dysfunction (ejection fraction <52% and/or GLS >−18%) was observed in 27%, while right ventricular dysfunction (TAPSE <17 mm and/or RV S’ < 10 cm/s) was seen in 10%. There was no association between elevated Troponin T or NT-proBNP and left or right ventricular dysfunction. Patients with confirmed pulmonary embolism had normal right ventricular function.


In hospitalised patients, it seems that COVID-19 predominantly affects the respiratory system, while cardiac dysfunction occurs less often. Based on a single echocardiographic evaluation, we found no relation between elevated Troponin T or NT-proBNP, and ventricular dysfunction. Echocardiography has limited value in screening for ventricular dysfunction.

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Netherlands Heart Journal

Het Netherlands Heart Journal wordt uitgegeven in samenwerking met de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cardiologie en de Nederlandse Hartstichting. Het tijdschrift is Engelstalig en wordt gratis beschikbaa ...

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