Publication Date



Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes


BACKGROUND: Preexisting cardiovascular disease (CVD) is perceived as a risk factor for poor outcomes in patients with COVID-19. We sought to determine whether CVD is associated with in-hospital death and cardiovascular events in critically ill patients with COVID-19.

METHODS: This study used data from a multicenter cohort of adults with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 admitted to intensive care units at 68 centers across the United States from March 1 to July 1, 2020. The primary exposure was CVD, defined as preexisting coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, or atrial fibrillation/flutter. Myocardial injury on intensive care unit admission defined as a troponin I or T level above the 99th percentile upper reference limit of normal was a secondary exposure. The primary outcome was 28-day in-hospital mortality. Secondary outcomes included cardiovascular events (cardiac arrest, new-onset arrhythmias, new-onset heart failure, myocarditis, pericarditis, or stroke) within 14 days.

RESULTS: Among 5133 patients (3231 male [62.9%]; mean age 61 years [SD, 15]), 1174 (22.9%) had preexisting CVD. A total of 1178 (34.6%) died, and 920 (17.9%) had a cardiovascular event. After adjusting for age, sex, race, body mass index, history of smoking, and comorbidities, preexisting CVD was associated with a 1.15 (95% CI, 0.98-1.34) higher odds of death. No independent association was observed between preexisting CVD and cardiovascular events. Myocardial injury on intensive care unit admission was associated with higher odds of death (adjusted odds ratio, 1.93 [95% CI, 1.61-2.31]) and cardiovascular events (adjusted odds ratio, 1.82 [95% CI, 1.47-2.24]), regardless of the presence of CVD.

CONCLUSIONS: CVD risk factors, rather than CVD itself, were the major contributors to outcomes in critically ill patients with COVID-19. The occurrence of myocardial injury, regardless of CVD, and its association with outcomes suggests it is likely due to multiorgan injury related to acute inflammation rather than exacerbation of preexisting CVD.



Adult, Humans, Male, United States, Middle Aged, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Critical Illness, Cardiovascular Diseases, Troponin I, Hospital Mortality, Risk Factors

Included in

COVID-19 Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.