Artery stiffness could show severe COVID-19 risk

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Scientists from Newcastle University found assessing the stiffness of the arteries could help identify patients most at risk of dying from COVID-19.

The research is published in Scientific Reports and was conducted by Professor Konstantinos Stellos et al.

Estimated pulse wave velocity (ePWV), a readily available marker of aortic stiffening, has been shown to be an effective addition in identifying patients at risk of death in hospitals due to the virus.

Pulse-wave velocity (ePWV) is a measurement of arterial stiffness that is an independent predictor of heart disease risk.

It can be measured simply and noninvasively by measuring the carotid and femoral pulse pressures, with sensors on the ankles and neck, and the time delay between the two or by other methods relying on pulse-wave analysis.

In the study, the team showed that ePWV provides an additional clinical tool to refine the risk stratification of hospitalized patients beyond established risk factors and scores.

The study was carried out on more than 700 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and more than 900 non-COVID-19 people.

They found that the addition of ePWV to clinical predictive markers or a validated mortality score improved the prognostic value for in-hospital mortality and therefore could facilitate decisions in acute COVID-19 disease.

The findings suggest that increased aortic stiffening may serve as a predictor of mortality in COVID-19 infection reflecting a cumulative surrogate of aging and high-risk heart disease profile.

The team found that the optimal prognostic ePWV value was 13.0 m/sec for predicting in-hospital mortality.

The readily available measure of arterial stiffness when used in addition to tools already recommended in clinical practice may facilitate therapeutic decisions in acute COVID-19 disease.

The team will be continuing further research in this area to develop the technique and seek its validation into health service practice.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about why smokers have a lower risk of COVID-19, and this drug can block multiple COVID-19 variants.

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