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Carotid intima-media thickness and flow-mediated dilation do not predict acute in-hospital outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19

Cristina-Oliveira, Michelle, Meireles, Kamila, Gil, Saulo, Cavalcante Assis, Fábio, Geber-Júnior, João Carlos, Shinjo, Samuel Katsuyuki, de Souza, Heraldo Possolo, Cruz Santana, Alfredo Nicodemos, Swinton, Paul A, Drager, Luciano F, Gualano, Bruno, Roschel, Hamilton and Peçanha, Tiago (2022) Carotid intima-media thickness and flow-mediated dilation do not predict acute in-hospital outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 322 (6). H906-H913. ISSN 0363-6135

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Abstract

Studies have suggested a potential role of endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis in the pathophysiology of COVID-19. Herein, we tested whether brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) measured upon hospital admission are associated with acute in-hospital outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. A total of 211 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were submitted to assessments of FMD and mean and maximum cIMT (cIMTmean and cIMTmax) within the first 72 h of hospital admission. Study primary outcome was a composite of intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, or death during the hospitalization. These outcomes were also considered independently. Thrombotic events were included as a secondary outcome. Odds ratios (ORs) and confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using unadjusted and adjusted multivariable logistic regression models. Eighty-eight (42%) participants demonstrated at least one of the composite outcomes. cIMTmean and cIMTmax were predictors of mortality and thrombotic events in the univariate analysis (cIMTmean and mortality: unadjusted OR 12.71 [95% CI 1.71–94.48]; P = 0.014; cIMTmean and thrombotic events: unadjusted OR 11.94 [95% CI 1.64–86.79]; P = 0.015; cIMTmax and mortality: unadjusted OR 8.47 [95% CI 1.41–51.05]; P = 0.021; cIMTmax and thrombotic events: unadjusted OR 12.19 [95% CI 2.03–73.09]; P = 0.007). However, these associations were no longer present after adjustment for potential confounders (P > 0.05). In addition, FMD% was not associated with any outcome. In conclusion, cIMT and FMD are not independent predictors of clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. These results suggest that subclinical atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction may not be the main drivers of COVID-19 complications in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

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