The simple test that reveals who is most at risk

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Increased levels of five specific biomarkers in the blood of COVID-19 patients were associated with higher chances of clinical impairment and death – A simple test can give the answer to doctors and patients

Researchers from the US George Washington University (GW) found five blood biomarkers associated with increased chances of clinical impairment and death in COVID-19 patients. According to a report in Future Medicine, these findings will help doctors better predict the outcome of patients with coronavirus.

“When we first started treating patients with COVID-19, we watched their health improve or worsen, but without knowing why.” Some initial studies in China showed that certain biomarkers were associated with worse outcomes, and there was a desire to see if this was true for patients in the United States,” said Juan Reyes, one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor of medicine at GW.

The research team evaluated 299 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, who were admitted to the University Hospital between March 12 and May 9. Of these, 200 were tested for all five biomarkers – IL-6, D-dimer, CRP, LDH and ferritin. Increased levels of these biomarkers were associated with inflammation and bleeding disorders, indicating an independent increased risk of admission to ICU, invasive respiratory support, and death. The highest chances of death occurred when LDH levels were greater than 1200 units / l and the D-dimer level was greater than 3 μg / ml.

“We hope these biomarkers will help doctors better determine how aggressive patient treatment should be, whether the patient should be discharged, but also how to monitor patients returning home, among other clinical decisions.”, points out Shant Ayanian, the study’s lead author and Assistant Professor of Medicine at GW.

At present, doctors determine the risk of COVID-19 impairment and death based on age and specific underlying conditions, such as immunosuppression, obesity, and heart disease. A simple blood test in patients entering emergencies and subsequent decisions based on existing biomarkers can further contribute to clinical care decisions. Scientists will continue to analyze this data to help both physicians make more informed decisions about patients and hospitals that may need resource stratification.