Special Issue "COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice"

A special issue of Journal of Clinical Medicine (ISSN 2077-0383). This special issue belongs to the section "Infectious Diseases".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (23 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Salvatore Corrao
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Guest Editor
National Relevance and High Specialization Hospital Trust ARNAS Civico, Di Cristina, Benfratelli, 90127 Palermo, Italy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Roland Bingisser
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Guest Editor
Emergency Department, Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Petersgraben 2, 4031 Basel, Switzerland
Interests: risk stratification in emergency medicine, triage, work-up, and disposition; geriatric emergency medicine; infectious disease; pulmonary disease
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 has caused a global crisis resulting from one of the most massive pandemics in human history. The SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads very easily and quickly, but only a percentage of cases develop the disease, and an even lower proportion develops a very serious or fatal one. Gender differences have been recognized, and new hypotheses on the clinical impact of underlying conditions have been raised. This Special Issue aims to include high-quality research on both the pathophysiological aspects of COVID-19 and its clinical characteristics. Particular attention will be given both to comorbidities and new pathophysiological hypotheses. All clinical issues, including gender differences, genetic predisposition, medical and ethical aspects of triage, emergency and intensive medicine, and randomized controlled trials, will be considered a priority.

Furthermore, autopsy studies on the causes of death and new hypotheses on therapies based on pre-clinical studies will be welcome, as well as all useful interventions to face this pandemic and improve the quality of life of the affected patients. A safety perspective is necessary in these times in which various therapies are tested without robust evidence. For this reason, safety reports will be welcome as well.

Prof. Dr. Salvatore Corrao
Prof. Dr. Roland Bingisser
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Clinical Medicine is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • gender differences
  • comorbidities
  • pathophysiology
  • clinical practice
  • pathogenetic hypothesis
  • genetics
  • ethical issues
  • intensive medicine
  • autopsy
  • therapeutics
  • Adverse Drug Reaction
  • randomized controlled trials

Published Papers (39 papers)

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Article
Immunological Characteristics of Non-Intensive Care Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients: A Preliminary Report
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(4), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10040849 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 887
Abstract
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is posing a threat to global health. This disease has different clinical manifestations and different outcomes. The immune response to the novel 2019 coronavirus is complex and involves both innate and adaptive immunity. In this context, [...] Read more.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is posing a threat to global health. This disease has different clinical manifestations and different outcomes. The immune response to the novel 2019 coronavirus is complex and involves both innate and adaptive immunity. In this context, cell-mediated immunity plays a vital role in effective immunity against SARS-CoV-2. Significant differences have been observed when comparing severe and non-severe patients. Since these immunological characteristics have not been fully elucidated, we aimed to use cluster analysis to investigate the immune cell patterns in patients with COVID-19 who required hospitalization but not intensive care. We identified four clusters of different immunological patterns, the worst being characterized by total lymphocytes, T helper lymphocytes CD4+ (CD4+), T cytotoxic lymphocytes CD8+ (CD8+) and natural killer (NK) cells below the normal range, together with natural killer lymphocyte granzyme < 50% (NK granzyme+) and antibody-secreting plasma cells (ASCs) equal to 0 with fatal outcomes. In the worst group, 50% of patients died in the intensive care unit. Moreover, a negative trend was found among four groups regarding total lymphocytes, CD4+, CD8+ and B lymphocytes (p < 0.001, p < 0.005, p < 0.000, p < 0.044, respectively). This detailed analysis of immune changes may have prognostic value. It may provide a new perspective for identifying subsets of COVID-19 patients and selecting novel prospective treatment strategies. Notwithstanding these results, this is a preliminary report with a small sample size, and our data may not be generalizable. Further cohort studies with larger samples are necessary to quantify the prognostic value’s weight, according to immunological changes in COVID-19 patients, for predicting prognoses and realizing improvements in clinical conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
The Prognostic Value of Eosinophil Recovery in COVID-19: A Multicentre, Retrospective Cohort Study on Patients Hospitalised in Spanish Hospitals
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10020305 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1934
Abstract
Objectives: A decrease in blood cell counts, especially lymphocytes and eosinophils, has been described in patients with serious Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), but there is no knowledge of their potential role of the recovery in these patients’ prognosis. This article [...] Read more.
Objectives: A decrease in blood cell counts, especially lymphocytes and eosinophils, has been described in patients with serious Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), but there is no knowledge of their potential role of the recovery in these patients’ prognosis. This article aims to analyse the effect of blood cell depletion and blood cell recovery on mortality due to COVID-19. Design: This work was a retrospective, multicentre cohort study of 9644 hospitalised patients with confirmed COVID-19 from the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine’s SEMI-COVID-19 Registry. Setting: This study examined patients hospitalised in 147 hospitals throughout Spain. Participants: This work analysed 9644 patients (57.12% male) out of a cohort of 12,826 patients ≥18 years of age hospitalised with COVID-19 in Spain included in the SEMI-COVID-19 Registry as of 29 May 2020. Main outcome measures: The main outcome measure of this work is the effect of blood cell depletion and blood cell recovery on mortality due to COVID-19. Univariate analysis was performed to determine possible predictors of death, and then multivariate analysis was carried out to control for potential confounders. Results: An increase in the eosinophil count on the seventh day of hospitalisation was associated with a better prognosis, including lower mortality rates (5.2% vs. 22.6% in non-recoverers, OR 0.234; 95% CI, 0.154 to 0.354) and lower complication rates, especially regarding the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (8% vs. 20.1%, p = 0.000) and ICU admission (5.4% vs. 10.8%, p = 0.000). Lymphocyte recovery was found to have no effect on prognosis. Treatment with inhaled or systemic glucocorticoids was not found to be a confounding factor. Conclusion: Eosinophil recovery in patients with COVID-19 who required hospitalisation had an independent prognostic value for all-cause mortality and a milder course. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Red Blood Cell Distribution Width, Disease Severity, and Mortality in Hospitalized Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(2), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10020286 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 841
Abstract
The identification of biomarkers predicting disease severity and outcomes is the focus of intense research in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 infection). Ideally, such biomarkers should be easily derivable from routine tests. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis [...] Read more.
The identification of biomarkers predicting disease severity and outcomes is the focus of intense research in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 infection). Ideally, such biomarkers should be easily derivable from routine tests. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the predictive role of the red blood cell distribution width (RDW), a routine hematological test, in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. We searched the electronic databases PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus, from January 2020 to November 2020, for studies reporting data on the RDW and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) severity, defined as severe illness or admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), and mortality. Eleven studies in 4901 COVID-19 patients were selected for the meta-analysis. Pooled results showed that the RDW values were significantly higher in patients with severe disease and non-survivors (standard mean difference, SMD = 0.56, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.81, p < 0.001). Heterogeneity between studies was extreme (I2 = 80.6%; p < 0.001). In sensitivity analysis, the effect size was not modified when each study was in turn removed (effect size range, between 0.47 and 0.63). The Begg’s (p = 0.53) and Egger’s tests (p = 0.52) showed no evidence of publication bias. No significant correlations were observed between SMD and age, gender, whole blood count, end point, study geographic area, or design. Our meta-analysis showed that higher RDW values are significantly associated with COVID-19 severity and mortality. This routine parameter might assist with early risk stratification in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Accuracy of Conventional and Machine Learning Enhanced Chest Radiography for the Assessment of COVID-19 Pneumonia: Intra-Individual Comparison with CT
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(11), 3576; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9113576 - 06 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 969
Abstract
Purpose: To evaluate diagnostic accuracy of conventional radiography (CXR) and machine learning enhanced CXR (mlCXR) for the detection and quantification of disease-extent in COVID-19 patients compared to chest-CT. Methods: Real-time polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR)-confirmed COVID-19-patients undergoing CXR from March to April 2020 together [...] Read more.
Purpose: To evaluate diagnostic accuracy of conventional radiography (CXR) and machine learning enhanced CXR (mlCXR) for the detection and quantification of disease-extent in COVID-19 patients compared to chest-CT. Methods: Real-time polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR)-confirmed COVID-19-patients undergoing CXR from March to April 2020 together with COVID-19 negative patients as control group were retrospectively included. Two independent readers assessed CXR and mlCXR images for presence, disease extent and type (consolidation vs. ground-glass opacities (GGOs) of COVID-19-pneumonia. Further, readers had to assign confidence levels to their diagnosis. CT obtained ≤ 36 h from acquisition of CXR served as standard of reference. Inter-reader agreement, sensitivity for detection and disease extent of COVID-19-pneumonia compared to CT was calculated. McNemar test was used to test for significant differences. Results: Sixty patients (21 females; median age 61 years, range 38–81 years) were included. Inter-reader agreement improved from good to excellent when mlCXR instead of CXR was used (k = 0.831 vs. k = 0.742). Sensitivity for pneumonia detection improved from 79.5% to 92.3%, however, on the cost of specificity 100% vs. 71.4% (p = 0.031). Overall, sensitivity for the detection of consolidation was higher than for GGO (37.5% vs. 70.4%; respectively). No differences could be found in disease extent estimation between mlCXR and CXR, even though the detection of GGO could be improved. Diagnostic confidence was better on mlCXR compared to CXR (p = 0.013). Conclusion: In line with the current literature, the sensitivity for detection and quantification of COVID-19-pneumonia was moderate with CXR and could be improved when mlCXR was used for image interpretation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes in Patients with Suspected COVID-19 and Their Relationship with a Negative RT-PCR Result
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(11), 3552; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9113552 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1932
Abstract
This study was designed to examine maternal-perinatal outcomes in pregnant women with suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) according to the result of a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test and to investigate possible variables that could be useful for predicting a [...] Read more.
This study was designed to examine maternal-perinatal outcomes in pregnant women with suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) according to the result of a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test and to investigate possible variables that could be useful for predicting a negative RT-PCR result. Participants of this retrospective cohort study were obstetrics patients with suspected COVID-19 who underwent an RT-PCR test in a tertiary hospital in Madrid, Spain. Maternal-perinatal features were analysed according to the results of this test. Clinical, radiological and analytical characteristics that could be associated with a negative result were also explored. In a final subgroup analysis, patients were included if they had pneumonia and a negative test result for the virus. Out of the 111 obstetric patients with suspected COVID-19 that were enrolled, 38.7% returned a negative result. In this RT-PCR-negative group, we recorded lower rates of pneumonia (21.4% vs. 45.6%, p = 0.009), severe or critical clinical features (4.7% vs. 11.8% and 0.0% vs. 5.9%, p = 0.02, respectively), lower lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels (168 UI/L vs. 224.5 UI/L, p = 0.003), a greater need for maternal treatment (60.3% vs 24.4%, p < 0.001), a reduced need for oxygen therapy (2.4% vs 28.8%, p < 0.001) and a lower rate of intensive care unit admission (0.0% vs. 3.7%, p = 0.046) than the RT-PCR-positive group. While no differences were found in other variables, the monocyte count was higher (946.2/μL vs. 518.8/μL, p = 0.022) in this group. The predictive model for a negative test result included the monocyte count, LDH level and no need for oxygen therapy. This model was able to identify 73.5% of patients with a negative RT-PCR result. Only 11% of the patients with pneumonia testing negative for the virus had IgG antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The proportion of pregnant women with suspected COVID-19 and a negative RT-PCR result was nearly 39%. In these patients, the symptoms were mild and the systemic severity of the disease was lower. The monocyte count, LDH level and no need for oxygen therapy were the factors that were more related to a negative test result in this group. These variables could be used to guide the management of patients with suspected COVID-19, mainly while waiting for RT-PCR results or in settings where this test is not available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Predicting Clinical Outcome with Phenotypic Clusters in COVID-19 Pneumonia: An Analysis of 12,066 Hospitalized Patients from the Spanish Registry SEMI-COVID-19
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(11), 3488; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9113488 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 10248
Abstract
(1) Background: Different clinical presentations in COVID-19 are described to date, from mild to severe cases. This study aims to identify different clinical phenotypes in COVID-19 pneumonia using cluster analysis and to assess the prognostic impact among identified clusters in such patients. (2) [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Different clinical presentations in COVID-19 are described to date, from mild to severe cases. This study aims to identify different clinical phenotypes in COVID-19 pneumonia using cluster analysis and to assess the prognostic impact among identified clusters in such patients. (2) Methods: Cluster analysis including 11 phenotypic variables was performed in a large cohort of 12,066 COVID-19 patients, collected and followed-up from 1 March to 31 July 2020, from the nationwide Spanish Society of Internal Medicine (SEMI)-COVID-19 Registry. (3) Results: Of the total of 12,066 patients included in the study, most were males (7052, 58.5%) and Caucasian (10,635, 89.5%), with a mean age at diagnosis of 67 years (standard deviation (SD) 16). The main pre-admission comorbidities were arterial hypertension (6030, 50%), hyperlipidemia (4741, 39.4%) and diabetes mellitus (2309, 19.2%). The average number of days from COVID-19 symptom onset to hospital admission was 6.7 (SD 7). The triad of fever, cough, and dyspnea was present almost uniformly in all 4 clinical phenotypes identified by clustering. Cluster C1 (8737 patients, 72.4%) was the largest, and comprised patients with the triad alone. Cluster C2 (1196 patients, 9.9%) also presented with ageusia and anosmia; cluster C3 (880 patients, 7.3%) also had arthromyalgia, headache, and sore throat; and cluster C4 (1253 patients, 10.4%) also manifested with diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Compared to each other, cluster C1 presented the highest in-hospital mortality (24.1% vs. 4.3% vs. 14.7% vs. 18.6%; p < 0.001). The multivariate study identified age, gender (male), body mass index (BMI), arterial hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ischemic cardiopathy, chronic heart failure, chronic hepatopathy, Charlson’s index, heart rate and respiratory rate upon admission >20 bpm, lower PaO2/FiO2 at admission, higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and the phenotypic cluster as independent factors for in-hospital death. (4) Conclusions: The present study identified 4 phenotypic clusters in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, which predicted the in-hospital prognosis of clinical outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
COVID-19 Triage and Test Center: Safety, Feasibility, and Outcomes of Low-Threshold Testing
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(10), 3217; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103217 - 07 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1291
Abstract
This prospective observational study evaluated the safety and feasibility of a low threshold testing process in a Triage and Test Center (TTC) during the early course of the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition, we aimed to identify clinical predictors for a [...] Read more.
This prospective observational study evaluated the safety and feasibility of a low threshold testing process in a Triage and Test Center (TTC) during the early course of the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition, we aimed to identify clinical predictors for a positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) swab result. Patients underwent informal triage, standardized history taking, and physician evaluation, only where indicated. Patients were observed for 30 days. Safety was the primary outcome and was defined as a COVID-19-related 30 day re-presentation rate <5% and mortality rate <1% in patients presenting to the TTC. Feasibility was defined as an overruling of informal triage <5%. Among 4815 presentations, 572 (11.9%) were tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and 4774 were discharged. Mortality at 30-days was 0.04% (2 patients, one of which related to COVID-19). Fever (OR 2.03 [95% CI 1.70;2.42]), myalgia (OR 1.94 [1.63;2.31]), chills (OR 1.77 [1.44;2.16]), headache (OR 1.61 [1.34;1.94]), cough (OR 1.50 [1.24;1.83]), weakness (OR 1.46 [1.21;1.76]), and confusion (OR 1.39 [1.06;1.80]) were associated with test positivity. Re-presentation rate was 8% overall and 1.4% in COVID-19 related re-presentation (69 of 4774). The overruling rate of informal triage was 1.5%. According to our study, a low-threshold testing process in a TTC appeared to be safe (low re-presentation and low mortality) and is feasible (low overruling of informal triage). A COVID-19 diagnosis based on clinical parameters only does not appear possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Complex Immunometabolic Profiling Reveals the Activation of Cellular Immunity and Biliary Lesions in Patients with Severe COVID-19
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(9), 3000; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9093000 - 17 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1288
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the key laboratory features displayed by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) inpatients that are associated with mild, moderate, severe, and fatal courses of the disease, and through a longitudinal follow-up, to understand the dynamics of the COVID-19 pathophysiology. All [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the key laboratory features displayed by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) inpatients that are associated with mild, moderate, severe, and fatal courses of the disease, and through a longitudinal follow-up, to understand the dynamics of the COVID-19 pathophysiology. All severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-positive patients admitted to the University Hospital in Motol between March and June 2020 were included in this study. A severe course of COVID-19 was associated with an elevation of proinflammatory markers; an efflux of immature granulocytes into peripheral blood; the activation of CD8 T cells, which infiltrated the lungs; transient liver disease. In particular, the elevation of serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and histological signs of cholestasis were highly specific for patients with a severe form of the disease. In contrast, patients with a fatal course of COVID-19 failed to upregulate markers of inflammation, showed discoordination of the immune response, and progressed toward acute kidney failure. COVID-19 is a disease with a multi-organ affinity that is characterized by the activation of innate and cellular adaptive immunity. Biliary lesions with an elevation of GGT and the organ infiltration of interleukin 6 (IL-6)-producing cells are the defining characteristics for patients with the fulminant disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Clinical Significance of Timing of Intubation in Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19: A Multi-Center Retrospective Study
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(9), 2847; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9092847 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2530
Abstract
The effect of intubation timing on the prognosis of critically ill patients with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is not yet well understood. We investigated whether early intubation is associated with the survival of COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This multicenter, retrospective, [...] Read more.
The effect of intubation timing on the prognosis of critically ill patients with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is not yet well understood. We investigated whether early intubation is associated with the survival of COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This multicenter, retrospective, observational study was done on 47 adult COVID-19 patients with ARDS who were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in Daegu, Korea between February 17 and April 23, 2020. Clinical characteristics and in-hospital mortality were compared between the early intubation and initially non-intubated groups, and between the early and late intubation groups, respectively. Of the 47 patients studied, 23 (48.9%) were intubated on the day of meeting ARDS criteria (early intubation), while 24 (51.1%) were not initially intubated. Eight patients were never intubated during the in-hospital course. Median follow-up duration was 46 days, and 21 patients (44.7%) died in the hospital. No significant difference in in-hospital mortality rate was noted between the early group and initially non-intubated groups (56.5% vs. 33.3%, p = 0.110). Furthermore, the risk of in-hospital death in the early intubation group was not significantly different compared to the initially non-intubated group on multivariate adjusted analysis (p = 0.385). Results were similar between early and late intubation in the subgroup analysis of 39 patients treated with mechanical ventilation. In conclusion, in this study of critically ill COVID-19 patients with ARDS, early intubation was not associated with improved survival. This result may help in the efficient allocation of limited medical resources, such as ventilators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Prolonged QT Interval in SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Prevalence and Prognosis
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(9), 2712; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9092712 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Background: The prognostic value of a prolonged QT interval in SARS-Cov2 infection is not well known. Objective: To determine whether the presence of a prolonged QT on admission is an independent factor for mortality in SARS-Cov2 hospitalized patients. Methods: Single-center cohort of 623 [...] Read more.
Background: The prognostic value of a prolonged QT interval in SARS-Cov2 infection is not well known. Objective: To determine whether the presence of a prolonged QT on admission is an independent factor for mortality in SARS-Cov2 hospitalized patients. Methods: Single-center cohort of 623 consecutive patients with positive polymerase-chain-reaction test (PCR) to SARS Cov2, recruited from 27 February to 7 April 2020. An electrocardiogram was taken on these patients within the first 48 h after diagnosis and before the administration of any medication with a known effect on QT interval. A prolonged QT interval was defined as a corrected QT (QTc) interval >480 milliseconds. Patients were followed up with until 10 May 2020. Results: Sixty-one patients (9.8%) had prolonged QTc and only 3.2% had a baseline QTc > 500 milliseconds. Patients with prolonged QTc were older, had more comorbidities, and higher levels of immune-inflammatory markers. There were no episodes of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation during hospitalization. All-cause death was higher in patients with prolonged QTc (41.0% vs. 8.7%, p < 0.001, multivariable HR 2.68 (1.58–4.55), p < 0.001). Conclusions: Almost 10% of patients with COVID-19 infection have a prolonged QTc interval on admission. A prolonged QTc was independently associated with a higher mortality even after adjustment for age, comorbidities, and treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. An electrocardiogram should be included on admission to identify high-risk SARS-CoV-2 patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Clinical Profiles in Renal Patients with COVID-19
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(8), 2665; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082665 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1459
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to frequent referrals to the emergency department on suspicion of this infection in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) and kidney transplant (KT) patients. We aimed to describe their clinical features comparing confirmed and suspected non-confirmed COVID-19 cases during the Spanish [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to frequent referrals to the emergency department on suspicion of this infection in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) and kidney transplant (KT) patients. We aimed to describe their clinical features comparing confirmed and suspected non-confirmed COVID-19 cases during the Spanish epidemic peak. Confirmed COVID-19 ((+)COVID-19) corresponds to patient with positive RT-PCR SARS-CoV-2 assay. Non-confirmed COVID-19 ((−)COVID-19) corresponds to patients with negative RT-PCR. COVID-19 was suspected in 61 patients (40/803 KT (4.9%), 21/220 MHD (9.5%)). Prevalence of (+)COVID-19 was 3.2% in KT and 3.6% in MHD patients. Thirty-four (26 KT and 8 MHD) were (+)COVID-19 and 27 (14 KT and 13 MHD) (−)COVID-19. In comparison with (−)COVID-19 patients, (+)COVID-19 showed higher frequency of typical viral symptoms (cough, dyspnea, asthenia and myalgias), pneumonia (88.2% vs. 14.3%) and LDH and CRP while lower phosphate levels, need of hospital admission (100% vs. 63%), use of non-invasive mechanical ventilation (36% vs. 11%) and mortality (38% vs. 0%) (p < 0.001). Time from symptoms onset to admission was longer in patients who finally died than in survivors (8.5 vs. 3.8, p = 0.007). In KT and MHD patients, (+)COVID-19 shows more clinical severity than suspected non-confirmed cases. Prompt RT-PCR is mandatory to confirm COVID-19 diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
Article
Prior Routine Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and Important Outcomes in Hospitalised Patients with COVID-19
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(8), 2586; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082586 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3563
Abstract
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection causes acute lung injury, resulting from aggressive inflammation initiated by viral replication. There has been much speculation about the potential role of non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which increase the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a binding target [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection causes acute lung injury, resulting from aggressive inflammation initiated by viral replication. There has been much speculation about the potential role of non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which increase the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a binding target for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to enter the host cell, which could lead to poorer outcomes in COVID-19 disease. The aim of this study was to examine the association between routine use of NSAIDs and outcomes in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. This was a multicentre, observational study, with data collected from adult patients with COVID-19 admitted to eight UK hospitals. Of 1222 patients eligible to be included, 54 (4.4%) were routinely prescribed NSAIDs prior to admission. Univariate results suggested a modest protective effect from the use of NSAIDs, but in the multivariable analysis, there was no association between prior NSAID use and time to mortality (adjusted HR (aHR) = 0.89, 95% CI 0.52–1.53, p = 0.67) or length of stay (aHR 0.89, 95% CI 0.59–1.35, p = 0.58). This study found no evidence that routine NSAID use was associated with higher COVID-19 mortality in hospitalised patients; therefore, patients should be advised to continue taking these medications until further evidence emerges. Our findings suggest that NSAID use might confer a modest benefit with regard to survival. However, as this finding was underpowered, further research is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Prevalence and Predictive Value of Anemia and Dysregulated Iron Homeostasis in Patients with COVID-19 Infection
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(8), 2429; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082429 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 43 | Viewed by 3869
Abstract
Infections with SARS-CoV-2 can result in severe clinical manifestations. As such patients present with systemic inflammation, we studied the prevalence and predictive value of anemia of inflammation (AI) or functional iron deficiency (FID), originating from immune-mediated alterations of iron homeostasis. Within this retrospective [...] Read more.
Infections with SARS-CoV-2 can result in severe clinical manifestations. As such patients present with systemic inflammation, we studied the prevalence and predictive value of anemia of inflammation (AI) or functional iron deficiency (FID), originating from immune-mediated alterations of iron homeostasis. Within this retrospective analysis of 259 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we found that, upon admission, 24.7% were anemic, with the majority suffering from AI (68.8%). Anemia was associated with a significantly higher in-hospital mortality (OR 3.729 (95%CI 1.739–7.995), p = 0.001) but not an increased frequency of intensive care unit (ICU) admission or need for mechanical ventilation. FID was present in 80.0% of patients upon admission, linked to more advanced inflammation and associated with significantly longer hospital stay. Notably, a ferritin/transferrin ratio > 10 predicted a five-fold higher risk of ICU admission and an eight-fold higher risk of the need for mechanical ventilation. Anemia and alterations of iron homeostasis are highly prevalent in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Iron metabolism biomarkers and hemoglobin can contribute to risk stratification of patients, as initial anemia is associated with increased mortality, whereas alterations of iron homeostasis with a higher ferritin/transferrin ratio reflect more advanced inflammation and predicts subsequent insufficient pulmonary oxygenation with the need for ICU admission and mechanical ventilation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
The Plasmatic Aldosterone and C-Reactive Protein Levels, and the Severity of Covid-19: The Dyhor-19 Study
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2315; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072315 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1473
Abstract
Background. The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, uses the angiotensin converting enzyme type 2 (ACE2), a physiological inhibitor of the renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS), as a cellular receptor to infect cells. Since the RAAS can induce and modulate pro-inflammatory [...] Read more.
Background. The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, uses the angiotensin converting enzyme type 2 (ACE2), a physiological inhibitor of the renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS), as a cellular receptor to infect cells. Since the RAAS can induce and modulate pro-inflammatory responses, it could play a key role in the pathophysiology of Covid-19. Thus, we aimed to determine the levels of plasma renin and aldosterone as indicators of RAAS activation in a series of consecutively admitted patients for Covid-19 in our clinic. Methods. Plasma renin and aldosterone levels were measured, among the miscellaneous investigations needed for Covid-19 management, early after admission in our clinic. Disease severity was assessed using a seven-category ordinal scale. Primary outcome of interest was the severity of patients’ clinical courses. Results. Forty-four patients were included. At inclusion, 12 patients had mild clinical status, 25 moderate clinical status and 7 severe clinical status. In univariate analyses, aldosterone and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels at inclusion were significantly higher in patients with severe clinical course as compared to those with mild or moderate course (p < 0.01 and p = 0.03, respectively). In multivariate analyses, only aldosterone and CRP levels remained positively associated with severity. We also observed a positive significant correlation between aldosterone and CRP levels among patients with an aldosterone level greater than 102.5 pmol/L. Conclusions. Both plasmatic aldosterone and CRP levels at inclusion are associated with the clinical course of Covid-19. Our findings may open new perspectives in the understanding of the possible role of RAAS for Covid-19 outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Neutralizing Antibody Production in Asymptomatic and Mild COVID-19 Patients, in Comparison with Pneumonic COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2268; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072268 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 3082
Abstract
Objectives: To investigate antibody production in asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 patients. Methods: Sera from asymptomatic to severe COVID-19 patients were collected. Microneutralization (MN), fluorescence immunoassay (FIA), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were performed. Results: A total of 70 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients were evaluated, [...] Read more.
Objectives: To investigate antibody production in asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 patients. Methods: Sera from asymptomatic to severe COVID-19 patients were collected. Microneutralization (MN), fluorescence immunoassay (FIA), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were performed. Results: A total of 70 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients were evaluated, including 15 asymptomatic/anosmia, 49 mild symptomatic, and 6 pneumonia patients. The production of the neutralizing antibody was observed in 100% of pneumonia, 93.9% of mild symptomatic, and 80.0% of asymptomatic/anosmia groups. All the patients in the pneumonia group showed high MN titer (≥1:80), while 36.7% of mild symptomatic and 20.0% of asymptomatic/anosmia groups showed high titer (p < 0.001). Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies could be more sensitively detected by FIA IgG (98.8%) and ELISA (97.6%) in overall. For the FIA IgG test, all patients in the pneumonia group exhibited a high COI value (≥15.0), while 89.8% of mild symptomatic and 73.3% of asymptomatic/anosmia groups showed a high value (p = 0.049). For the ELISA test, all patients in the pneumonia group showed a high optical density (OD) ratio (≥3.0), while 65.3% of mild symptomatic and 53.3% of asymptomatic/anosmia groups showed a high ratio (p = 0.006). Conclusions: Most asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 patients produced the neutralizing antibody, although the titers were lower than pneumonia patients. ELISA and FIA sensitively detected anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
The Spectrum of Clinical and Serological Features of COVID-19 in Urban Hemodialysis Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2264; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072264 - 16 Jul 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Introduction: The inherent immunosuppression of uremia increases the susceptibility of hemodialysis patients to infection. There is still limited evidence on hemodialysis patients and COVID-19. The clinical and analytical spectrum and treatment responses and mortality are poorly characterized. Material and Methods: Clinical and analytical [...] Read more.
Introduction: The inherent immunosuppression of uremia increases the susceptibility of hemodialysis patients to infection. There is still limited evidence on hemodialysis patients and COVID-19. The clinical and analytical spectrum and treatment responses and mortality are poorly characterized. Material and Methods: Clinical and analytical features, chest X-ray, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, treatment and outcomes were analyzed in 48 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 during March and April 2020 in two coordinated Spanish hemodialysis units. Results: In 200 haemodialysis patients, COVID-19 was diagnosed in 48, of whom 22 were PCR positive, eight PCR negative but seroconverted and two were diagnosed on typical clinical grounds. Despite a mean age of 72.6 years, the overall mortality rate was 5/48 (10%). Among the PCR positive patients, 21 (55%) required admission and five (13%) died. PCR positive patients were more often symptomatic and hospitalized and had higher troponin I levels than PCR negative patients, but did not differ in lymphocyte counts, D-dimer or interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. Among PCR negative COVID-19 patients, three out of 10 (30%) required admission, and none died. The most frequent symptom among the 48 patients was fever (31%), followed by asymptomatic patients (23%). A low number of lymphocytes was the only parameter significantly different between hospitalized and ambulatory COVID-19 patients, independently of PCR status. Conclusions: COVID-19 hemodialysis patients are frequently asymptomatic, and mortality may be lower than previously reported. Diagnosis may be retrospective, based on seroconversion, as PCR may be negative. This information should guide preventive and patient isolation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Epidemiology and Clinical Presentation of Children Hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Suburbs of Paris
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2227; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072227 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2180
Abstract
Understanding the clinical presentation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and prognosis in children is a major issue. Children often present mild symptoms, and some severe forms require paediatric intensive care, with in some cases a fatal prognosis. Our aim [...] Read more.
Understanding the clinical presentation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and prognosis in children is a major issue. Children often present mild symptoms, and some severe forms require paediatric intensive care, with in some cases a fatal prognosis. Our aim was to identify the epidemiological characteristics, clinical presentation, and prognosis of children with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) hospitalized in Paris suburb hospitals. In this prospective, observational, multicentre study, we included children hospitalized in paediatric departments of Paris suburb hospitals from 23 March 2020 to 10 May 2020, during the national lockdown in France with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (positive RNA test on a nasopharyngeal swab) or highly suspected infection (clinical, biological, and/or radiological data features suggestive for SARS-CoV-2 infection). A total of 192 children were included for confirmed (n = 157) or highly suspected (n = 35) SARS-CoV-2 infection. The median age was one year old (interquartile range 0.125–11) with a sex ratio 1.3:1. Fever was recorded in 147 (76.6%) children and considered poorly tolerated in 29 (15.1%). The symptoms ranged from rhinorrhoea (34.4%) and gastrointestinal (35.5%) to respiratory distress (25%). Only 10 (5.2%) children had anosmia and five (2.6%) had chest pain. An underlying condition was identified in almost 30% of the children in our study. Overall, 24 (12.5%) children were admitted to paediatric intensive care units, 12 required mechanical ventilation, and three died. For children in Paris suburbs, most cases of Covid-19 showed mild or moderate clinical expression. However, one-eighth of children were admitted to paediatric intensive care units and three died. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
Article
Clinical Characteristics and Disease Progression in Early-Stage COVID-19 Patients in South Korea
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1959; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061959 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 1868
Abstract
A rapid increase in the number of patients with coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) may overwhelm the available medical resources. We aimed to evaluate risk factors for disease severity in the early stages of COVID-19. The cohort comprised 293 patients with COVID-19 from 5 [...] Read more.
A rapid increase in the number of patients with coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) may overwhelm the available medical resources. We aimed to evaluate risk factors for disease severity in the early stages of COVID-19. The cohort comprised 293 patients with COVID-19 from 5 March 2020, to 18 March 2020. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) classification system was used to triage patients. The clinical course was summarized, including the impact of drugs (angiotensin II receptor blockers [ARB], ibuprofen, and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors [DPP4i]) and the therapeutic effect of lopinavir/ritonavir. After adjusting for confounding variables, prior history of drug use, including ARB, ibuprofen, and DPP4i was not a risk factor associated with disease progression. Patients treated with lopinavir/ritonavir had significantly shorter progression-free survival than those not receiving lopinavir/ritonavir. KCDC classification I clearly distinguished the improvement/stabilization group from the progression group of COVID-19 patients (AUC 0.817; 95% CI, 0.740–0.895). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Performance Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 PCR Assays Developed by WHO Referral Laboratories
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1871; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061871 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3875
Abstract
A reliable diagnostic assay is crucial to early detect new COVID-19 cases and limit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization has published several diagnostic molecular approaches developed by referral laboratories, [...] Read more.
A reliable diagnostic assay is crucial to early detect new COVID-19 cases and limit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization has published several diagnostic molecular approaches developed by referral laboratories, including Charité (Germany), HKU (Hong Kong), China CDC (China), US CDC (United States), and Institut Pasteur, Paris (France). We aimed to compare the sensitivity and specificity of these different RT-PCR assays using SARS-CoV-2 cell culture supernatants and clinical respiratory samples. Overall, the different RT-PCR assays performed well for SARS-CoV-2 detection and were all specific except the N Charité (Germany), and N2 US CDC (United States) assays. RdRp Institut Pasteur (IP2, IP4), N China CDC, and N1 US CDC were found to be the most sensitive assays. The data presented herein are of prime importance to facilitate the equipment choice of diagnostic laboratories, as well as for the development of marketed tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Non-Overt Coagulopathy in Non-ICU Patients with Mild to Moderate COVID-19 Pneumonia
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1781; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061781 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1774
Abstract
Introduction: Aim of the study is to assess the occurrence of early stage coagulopathy and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in patients with mild to moderate respiratory distress secondary to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Materials and methods: Data of patients hospitalized from 18 March 2020 to [...] Read more.
Introduction: Aim of the study is to assess the occurrence of early stage coagulopathy and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in patients with mild to moderate respiratory distress secondary to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Materials and methods: Data of patients hospitalized from 18 March 2020 to 20 April 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Two scores for the screening of coagulopathy (SIC and non-overt DIC scores) were calculated. The occurrence of thrombotic complication, death, and worsening respiratory function requiring non-invasive ventilation (NIV) or admission to ICU were recorded, and these outcomes were correlated with the results of each score. Chi-square test, receiver-operating characteristic curve, and logistic regression analysis were used as appropriate. p Values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant. Results: Data of 32 patients were analyzed. Overt-DIC was diagnosed in two patients (6.2%), while 26 (81.2%) met the criteria for non-overt DIC. Non-overt DIC score values ≥4 significantly correlated with the need of NIV/ICU (p = 0.02) and with the occurrence of thrombotic complications (p = 0.04). A score ≥4 was the optimal cut-off value, performing better than SIC score (p = 0.0018). Values ≥4 in patients with thrombotic complications were predictive of death (p = 0.03). Conclusions: Overt DIC occurred in 6.2% of non-ICU patients hospitalized for a mild to moderate COVID-19 respiratory distress, while 81.2% fulfilled the criteria for non-overt DIC. The non-overt DIC score performed better than the SIC score in predicting the need of NIV/ICU and the occurrence of thrombotic complications, as well as in predicting mortality in patients with thrombotic complications, with a score ≥4 being detected as the optimal cut-off. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
A Cohort of Patients with COVID-19 in a Major Teaching Hospital in Europe
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1733; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061733 - 04 Jun 2020
Cited by 101 | Viewed by 5025
Abstract
Background: Since the confirmation of the first patient infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Spain in January 2020, the epidemic has grown rapidly, with the greatest impact on the region of Madrid. This article describes the first 2226 adult patients with COVID-19, consecutively admitted to [...] Read more.
Background: Since the confirmation of the first patient infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Spain in January 2020, the epidemic has grown rapidly, with the greatest impact on the region of Madrid. This article describes the first 2226 adult patients with COVID-19, consecutively admitted to La Paz University Hospital in Madrid. Methods: Our cohort included all patients consecutively hospitalized who had a final outcome (death or discharge) in a 1286-bed hospital of Madrid (Spain) from 25 February (first case admitted) to 19 April 2020. The data were manually entered into an electronic case report form, which was monitored prior to the analysis. Results: We consecutively included 2226 adult patients admitted to the hospital who either died (460) or were discharged (1766). The patients’ median age was 61 years, and 51.8% were women. The most common comorbidity was arterial hypertension (41.3%), and the most common symptom on admission was fever (71.2%). The median time from disease onset to hospital admission was 6 days. The overall mortality was 20.7% and was higher in men (26.6% vs. 15.1%). Seventy-five patients with a final outcome were transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) (3.4%). Most patients admitted to the ICU were men, and the median age was 64 years. Baseline laboratory values on admission were consistent with an impaired immune-inflammatory profile. Conclusions: We provide a description of the first large cohort of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Europe. Advanced age, male sex, the presence of comorbidities and abnormal laboratory values were more common among the patients with fatal outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Outcomes of COVID-19 among Patients on In-Center Hemodialysis: An Experience from the Epicenter in South Korea
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1688; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061688 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1625
Abstract
Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) or who are on hemodialysis (HD) could have increased susceptibility to the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) given their pre-existing comorbidities, older age, compromised immune system, and regular visits to populated outpatient dialysis centers. This study included [...] Read more.
Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) or who are on hemodialysis (HD) could have increased susceptibility to the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) given their pre-existing comorbidities, older age, compromised immune system, and regular visits to populated outpatient dialysis centers. This study included 14 consecutive patients on HD or with advanced CKD who initiated HD after being diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from February to April 2020 in hospitals throughout Daegu, South Korea. The included patients, 42.9% of whom were men, had a mean age of 63.5 years. Four patients had a history of contact with a patient suffering from COVID-19. The most common symptom was cough (50.0%), followed by dyspnea (35.7%). The mean time from symptom onset to diagnosis and admission was 2.6 and 3.5 days, respectively. Patients exhibited lymphopenia and elevated inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein and ferritin. Chest radiography findings showed pulmonary infiltration in 10 patients. All patients underwent regular HD in a negative pressure room and received antiviral agents. Four patients received mechanical ventilation and continuous renal replacement therapy at a median duration of 14.0 and 8.5 days, respectively. One patient underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for three days. Among the 14 patients included, two died due to acute respiratory distress syndrome, nine were discharged from the hospital, and three remained hospitalized. Despite the high-risk conditions associated with worse outcomes, patients on HD did not exhibit extremely poor overall COVID-19 outcomes perhaps due to early diagnosis, prompt hospitalization, and antiviral therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Using Machine Learning to Predict ICU Transfer in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1668; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061668 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 4293
Abstract
Objectives: Approximately 20–30% of patients with COVID-19 require hospitalization, and 5–12% may require critical care in an intensive care unit (ICU). A rapid surge in cases of severe COVID-19 will lead to a corresponding surge in demand for ICU care. Because of constraints [...] Read more.
Objectives: Approximately 20–30% of patients with COVID-19 require hospitalization, and 5–12% may require critical care in an intensive care unit (ICU). A rapid surge in cases of severe COVID-19 will lead to a corresponding surge in demand for ICU care. Because of constraints on resources, frontline healthcare workers may be unable to provide the frequent monitoring and assessment required for all patients at high risk of clinical deterioration. We developed a machine learning-based risk prioritization tool that predicts ICU transfer within 24 h, seeking to facilitate efficient use of care providers’ efforts and help hospitals plan their flow of operations. Methods: A retrospective cohort was comprised of non-ICU COVID-19 admissions at a large acute care health system between 26 February and 18 April 2020. Time series data, including vital signs, nursing assessments, laboratory data, and electrocardiograms, were used as input variables for training a random forest (RF) model. The cohort was randomly split (70:30) into training and test sets. The RF model was trained using 10-fold cross-validation on the training set, and its predictive performance on the test set was then evaluated. Results: The cohort consisted of 1987 unique patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted to non-ICU units of the hospital. The median time to ICU transfer was 2.45 days from the time of admission. Compared to actual admissions, the tool had 72.8% (95% CI: 63.2–81.1%) sensitivity, 76.3% (95% CI: 74.7–77.9%) specificity, 76.2% (95% CI: 74.6–77.7%) accuracy, and 79.9% (95% CI: 75.2–84.6%) area under the receiver operating characteristics curve. Conclusions: A ML-based prediction model can be used as a screening tool to identify patients at risk of imminent ICU transfer within 24 h. This tool could improve the management of hospital resources and patient-throughput planning, thus delivering more effective care to patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Article
Early Predictors of Clinical Deterioration in a Cohort of 239 Patients Hospitalized for Covid-19 Infection in Lombardy, Italy
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(5), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051548 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 59 | Viewed by 5357
Abstract
We described features of hospitalized Covid-19 patients and identified predictors of clinical deterioration. We included patients consecutively admitted at Humanitas Research Hospital (Rozzano, Milan, Italy); retrospectively extracted demographic; clinical; laboratory and imaging findings at admission; used survival methods to identify factors associated with [...] Read more.
We described features of hospitalized Covid-19 patients and identified predictors of clinical deterioration. We included patients consecutively admitted at Humanitas Research Hospital (Rozzano, Milan, Italy); retrospectively extracted demographic; clinical; laboratory and imaging findings at admission; used survival methods to identify factors associated with clinical deterioration (defined as intensive care unit (ICU) transfer or death), and developed a prognostic index. Overall; we analyzed 239 patients (29.3% females) with a mean age of 63.9 (standard deviation [SD]; 14.0) years. Clinical deterioration occurred in 70 patients (29.3%), including 41 (17.2%) ICU transfers and 36 (15.1%) deaths. The most common symptoms and signs at admission were cough (77.8%) and elevated respiratory rate (34.1%), while 66.5% of patients had at least one coexisting medical condition. Imaging frequently revealed ground-glass opacity (68.9%) and consolidation (23.8%). Age; increased respiratory rate; abnormal blood gas parameters and imaging findings; coexisting coronary heart disease; leukocytosis; lymphocytopenia; and several laboratory parameters (elevated procalcitonin; interleukin-6; serum ferritin; C-reactive protein; aspartate aminotransferase; lactate dehydrogenase; creatinine; fibrinogen; troponin-I; and D-dimer) were significant predictors of clinical deterioration. We suggested a prognostic index to assist risk-stratification (C-statistic; 0.845; 95% CI; 0.802–0.887). These results could aid early identification and management of patients at risk, who should therefore receive additional monitoring and aggressive supportive care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review

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Review
Severe COVID-19 Lung Infection in Older People and Periodontitis
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(2), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10020279 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2012
Abstract
Periodontal bacteria dissemination into the lower respiratory tract may create favorable conditions for severe COVID-19 lung infection. Once lung tissues are colonized, cells that survive persistent bacterial infection can undergo permanent damage and accelerated cellular senescence. Consequently, several morphological and functional features of [...] Read more.
Periodontal bacteria dissemination into the lower respiratory tract may create favorable conditions for severe COVID-19 lung infection. Once lung tissues are colonized, cells that survive persistent bacterial infection can undergo permanent damage and accelerated cellular senescence. Consequently, several morphological and functional features of senescent lung cells facilitate SARS-CoV-2 replication. The higher risk for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19, and death in older patients has generated the question whether basic aging mechanisms could be implicated in such susceptibility. Mounting evidence indicates that cellular senescence, a manifestation of aging at the cellular level, contributes to the development of age-related lung pathologies and facilitates respiratory infections. Apparently, a relationship between life-threatening COVID-19 lung infection and pre-existing periodontal disease seems improbable. However, periodontal pathogens can be inoculated during endotracheal intubation and/or aspirated into the lower respiratory tract. This review focuses on how the dissemination of periodontal bacteria into the lungs could aggravate age-related senescent cell accumulation and facilitate more efficient SARS-CoV-2 cell attachment and replication. We also consider how periodontal bacteria-induced premature senescence could influence the course of COVID-19 lung infection. Finally, we highlight the role of saliva as a reservoir for both pathogenic bacteria and SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, the identification of active severe periodontitis can be an opportune and valid clinical parameter for risk stratification of old patients with COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
Proposal of the Definition for COVID-19-Associated Coagulopathy
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(2), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10020191 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2643
Abstract
Thrombotic events are common complications in COVID-19 patients that include both thrombus formation in large vessels and the microvasculature of the lung and other organs. COVID-19-associated coagulopathy (CAC) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) have similarities and differences, and whether CAC is a form [...] Read more.
Thrombotic events are common complications in COVID-19 patients that include both thrombus formation in large vessels and the microvasculature of the lung and other organs. COVID-19-associated coagulopathy (CAC) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) have similarities and differences, and whether CAC is a form of DIC is the subject of debate. Reported mechanisms of CAC include activated coagulation, endotheliopathy, up-regulated innate and adaptive immunity, and activated complement system. Although the clinical features and laboratory findings of CAC and DIC seem different, there are fundamental similarities that should be considered. Basically, the pathological findings of COVID-19 fall within the scope of the definition of DIC, i.e., systemic activation of coagulation caused by or resulting from the microvascular damage. Therefore, we suggest that although CAC differs from usual infection-associated DIC, its various features indicate that it can be considered a thrombotic phenotype DIC. This review summarizes the current knowledge about CAC including differences and similarities with sepsis-associated DIC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
Neutrophil Extracellular Traps and By-Products Play a Key Role in COVID-19: Pathogenesis, Risk Factors, and Therapy
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(9), 2942; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9092942 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 2357
Abstract
Understanding of the pathogenesis of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) remains incomplete, particularly in respect to the multi-organ dysfunction it may cause. We were the first to report the analogous biological and physiological features of COVID-19 pathogenesis and the harmful amplification loop between inflammation [...] Read more.
Understanding of the pathogenesis of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) remains incomplete, particularly in respect to the multi-organ dysfunction it may cause. We were the first to report the analogous biological and physiological features of COVID-19 pathogenesis and the harmful amplification loop between inflammation and tissue damage induced by the dysregulation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) formation. Given the rapid evolution of this disease, the nature of its symptoms, and its potential lethality, we hypothesize that COVID-19 progresses under just such an amplifier loop, leading to a massive, uncontrolled inflammation process. Here, we describe in-depth the correlations of COVID-19 symptoms and biological features with those where uncontrolled NET formation is implicated in various sterile or infectious diseases. General clinical conditions, as well as numerous pathological and biological features, are analogous with NETs deleterious effects. Among NETs by-products implicated in COVID-19 pathogenesis, one of the most significant appears to be elastase, in accelerating virus entry and inducing hypertension, thrombosis and vasculitis. We postulate that severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) may evade innate immune response, causing uncontrolled NETs formation and multi-organ failure. In addition, we point to indicators that NETS-associated diseases are COVID-19 risk factors. Acknowledging that neutrophils are the principal origin of extracellular and circulating DNA release, we nonetheless, explain why targeting NETs rather than neutrophils themselves may in practice be a better strategy. This paper also offers an in-depth review of NET formation, function and pathogenic dysregulation, as well as of current and prospective future therapies to control NETopathies. As such, it enables us also to suggest new therapeutic strategies to fight COVID-19. In combination with or independent of the latest tested approaches, we propose the evaluation, in the short term, of treatments with DNase-1, with the anti-diabetic Metformin, or with drugs targeting elastase (i.e., Silvelestat). With a longer perspective, we also advocate a significant increase in research on the development of toll-like receptors (TLR) and C-type lectin-like receptors (CLEC) inhibitors, NET-inhibitory peptides, and on anti-IL-26 therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
Review
Key Aspects in Nutritional Management of COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(8), 2589; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082589 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 9387
Abstract
This review deals with the relationship among nutrition, the immune system, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The influence of nutrients and bioactive molecules present in foodstuffs on immune system activity, the influence of COVID-19 on the nutritional status of the patients, and the [...] Read more.
This review deals with the relationship among nutrition, the immune system, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The influence of nutrients and bioactive molecules present in foodstuffs on immune system activity, the influence of COVID-19 on the nutritional status of the patients, and the dietary recommendations for hospitalized patients are addressed. Deficient nutritional status is probably due to anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypoalbuminemia, hypermetabolism, and excessive nitrogen loss. There is limited knowledge regarding the nutritional support during hospital stay of COVID-19 patients. However, nutritional therapy appears as first-line treatment and should be implemented into standard practice. Optimal intake of all nutrients, mainly those playing crucial roles in immune system, should be assured through a diverse and well-balanced diet. Nevertheless, in order to reduce the risk and consequences of infections, the intakes for some micronutrients may exceed the recommended dietary allowances since infections and other stressors can reduce micronutrient status. In the case of critically ill patients, recently published guidelines are available for their nutritional management. Further, several natural bioactive compounds interact with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, the gateway for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Natural bioactive compounds can also reduce the inflammatory response induced by SARS-CoV-2. These compounds are potential beneficial tools in the nutritional management of COVID-19 patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
COVID-19 and Obesity: Dangerous Liaisons
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(8), 2511; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082511 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 6635
Abstract
Besides advanced age and the presence of multiple comorbidities as major contributors to increased risk of severe disease and fatal outcome from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) disease (COVID-19), there is now emerging evidence that overweight and obesity predispose to severe [...] Read more.
Besides advanced age and the presence of multiple comorbidities as major contributors to increased risk of severe disease and fatal outcome from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) disease (COVID-19), there is now emerging evidence that overweight and obesity predispose to severe symptoms and negative prognosis. Remarkably, the severity of COVID-19 appears to rise with increasing body mass index (BMI). The association between COVID-19 outcomes and overweight/obesity has biological and physiological plausibility. Potential pathophysiological mechanisms that may explain this strong association include the chronic pro-inflammatory state, the excessive oxidative stress response, and the impaired immunity that is commonly reported in these individuals. The role of cytokines, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and altered natural killer cell polarization in the dangerous liaison between COVID-19 and obesity are discussed here. These pathways can favor and accelerate the deleterious downstream cellular effects of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, obesity is well known to be associated with reduced lung function and poor response to mechanical ventilation, thus placing these individuals at high risk of severe illness and mortality from COVID-19. Furthermore, obesity may lead to other complications, such as renal failure, cardiovascular dysfunction, hypertension, and vascular damage, which in turn can further accelerate negative clinical outcomes from COVID-19. Obese individuals should be shielded against any potential viral exposure to SARS-CoV-2 with consequential considerations for compulsory protection devices and social distancing. Health care providers should be aware that obesity predisposes to severe symptoms and negative prognosis in COVID-19 patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
Atherosclerosis as Pathogenetic Substrate for Sars-Cov2 Cytokine Storm
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2095; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072095 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2391
Abstract
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-CoV-2) outbreak is a public health emergency affecting different regions around the world. The lungs are often damaged due to the presence of Sars-CoV-2 binding receptor ACE2 on epithelial alveolar cells. Severity of infection varies from [...] Read more.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-CoV-2) outbreak is a public health emergency affecting different regions around the world. The lungs are often damaged due to the presence of Sars-CoV-2 binding receptor ACE2 on epithelial alveolar cells. Severity of infection varies from complete absence of symptomatology to more aggressive symptoms, characterized by sudden acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multiorgan failure, and sepsis, requiring treatment in intensive care unit (ICU). It is not still clear why the immune system is not able to efficiently suppress viral replication in a small percentage of patients. It has been documented as pathological conditions affecting the cardiovascular system, strongly associated to atherosclerotic progression, such as heart failure (HF), coronary heart disease (CHD), hypertension (HTN) and diabetes mellitus (DM), could serve as predictive factors for severity and susceptibility during Sars-CoV-2 infection. Atherosclerotic progression, as a chronic inflammation process, is characterized by immune system dysregulation leading to pro-inflammatory patterns, including interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), and IL-1β. Reviewing immune system and inflammation profiles in atherosclerosis and laboratory results reported in severe COVID-19 infections, we hypothesized a pathogenetic correlation. Atherosclerosis may be an ideal pathogenetic substrate for high viral replication ability, leading to adverse outcomes, as reported in patients with cardiovascular factors. The level of atherosclerotic progression may affect a different degree of severe infection; in a vicious circle, feeding itself, Sars-CoV-2 may exacerbate atherosclerotic evolution due to excessive and aberrant plasmatic concentration of cytokines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
Role of Lopinavir/Ritonavir in the Treatment of Covid-19: A Review of Current Evidence, Guideline Recommendations, and Perspectives
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2050; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072050 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 2495
Abstract
A life-threatening respiratory illness (COVID-19) due to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 coronavirus was first described in December 2019 in Wuhan (China), rapidly evolving into a pandemic. In the first phase, when the viral replication plays a pivotal pathogenetic role, antiviral drugs could [...] Read more.
A life-threatening respiratory illness (COVID-19) due to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 coronavirus was first described in December 2019 in Wuhan (China), rapidly evolving into a pandemic. In the first phase, when the viral replication plays a pivotal pathogenetic role, antiviral drugs could be crucial in limiting viral-induced organ damage. Unfortunately, there are no specific antivirals of proven efficacy for COVID-19, and several drugs have been repurposed to face this dramatic pandemic. In this paper we review the studies evaluating lopinavir/ritonavir association (LPV/r) use in COVID-19, and previously in SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). We searched PubMed to identify all relevant clinical and laboratory studies published up to 15 May 2020; the guidelines on the use of LPV/r in COVID-19 were further directly searched on the website of the main international scientific societies and agencies. Available evidence is currently scarce and of low quality. The recommendations issued for COVID-19 vary from positions clearly against the use of LPV/r to other positions that are more favorable. In our opinion, despite the controversial results of an important randomized clinical trial, and some recommendations, clinicians should not abandon the use of LPV/r for the treatment of COVID-19, possibly using this drug inside a prospective randomized trial, waiting for the results of the numerous ongoing trials evaluating its efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
Exploring Sodium Glucose Co-Transporter-2 (SGLT2) Inhibitors for Organ Protection in COVID-19
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072030 - 28 Jun 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2810
Abstract
Hospital admissions and mortality from the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are spreading throughout the world, and second and third waves are thought to be likely. Risk factors for severe COVID-19 include diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Currently, there is no [...] Read more.
Hospital admissions and mortality from the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are spreading throughout the world, and second and third waves are thought to be likely. Risk factors for severe COVID-19 include diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Currently, there is no vaccine and no approved therapy. Therapeutic approaches are aimed at preventing viral replication and spread, limiting the impact of the inflammatory overdrive (cytokine storm), preventing thromboembolic complications and replacing or supporting organ function. However, despite organ support, mortality is currently 65% for those receiving advanced respiratory support and 78% for those requiring renal replacement therapies. Thus, efforts should be made to provide adjuvant organ protection therapy. This may imply novel therapies in clinical development (e.g., the Fas ligand trap asunercept), but uptake of repurposed drugs already in clinical use may be faster. In this regard, sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors were recently shown to protect the heart and kidney both within and outside of a diabetic milieu context. Further, preclinical data support a beneficial effect for the lung. We now discuss the potential benefits and risks of SGLT2 inhibitors in COVID-19 and an ongoing clinical trial testing the impact of dapagliflozin on outcomes in COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
Clinical-Forensic Autopsy Findings to Defeat COVID-19 Disease: A Literature Review
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2026; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072026 - 28 Jun 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3130
Abstract
The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 was identified for the first time in China, in December 2019. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported around the world; indeed, this infection has been declared a pandemic. Consequently, the scientific community is working hard to [...] Read more.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 was identified for the first time in China, in December 2019. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported around the world; indeed, this infection has been declared a pandemic. Consequently, the scientific community is working hard to gain useful information about the history of this virus, its transmission, diagnosis, clinical features, radiological findings, research and development of candidate therapeutics as well as vaccines. This review aims to analyze the diagnostic techniques used to ascertain the COVID-19 infection, critically reviewing positive points and criticism for forensic implications, obviously including autopsy. Finally, this review proposes a practical workflow to be applied in the management of corpses during this outbreak of the COVID-19 infection, which could be useful in cases of future infectious disease emergencies. Analyzing the diagnostic methods, to date, virus nucleic acid RT-PCR represents the standard method used to ascertain the COVID-19 infection in living subjects and corpses, even if this technique has several criticisms: mainly, the staff should be highly specialized, working in high-throughput settings, able to handle high workloads and aware of health risks and the importance of the results. Thus, IgG/IgM serological tests have been developed, overcoming RT-qPCR duration, costs, and management, not requiring highly trained personnel. Nevertheless, serological tests present problems; the WHO recommends the use of these new point-of-care immunodiagnostic tests only in research settings. Furthermore, nothing has yet been published regarding the possibility of applying these methods during post-mortem investigations. In light of this scenario, in this review, we suggest a flow chart for the pathologist called on to ascertain the cause of death of a subject with historical and clinical findings of COVID-19 status or without any anamnestic, diagnostic, or exposure information. Indeed, the literature data confirmed the analytical vulnerabilities of the kits used for laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, particularly during postmortem examinations. For these reasons, autopsy remains the gold standard method to ascertain the exact cause of death (from or with COVID-19 infection, or other causes), to consequently provide real data for statistical evaluations and to take necessary measures to contain the risks of the infection. Moreover, performing autopsies could provide information on the pathogenesis of the COVID-19 infection with obvious therapeutic implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
COVID-19 and Heart: From Clinical Features to Pharmacological Implications
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1944; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061944 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
A highly pathogenic human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been recently recognized in Wuhan, China, as the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak which has spread rapidly from China to other countries in the world, causing a [...] Read more.
A highly pathogenic human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been recently recognized in Wuhan, China, as the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak which has spread rapidly from China to other countries in the world, causing a pandemic with alarming morbidity and mortality. The emerging epidemiological data about COVID-19 patients suggest an association between cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and SARS-CoV-2 infection, in term of clinical features at hospital admission and prognosis for disease severity. The aim of our review is to describe the cardiological features of COVID-19 patients at admission, the acute cardiac presentation, the clinical outcome for patients with underlying CVD and the pharmacological implications for disease management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
COVID-19 Related Coagulopathy: A Distinct Entity?
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1651; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061651 - 31 May 2020
Cited by 53 | Viewed by 3607
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted healthcare communities across the globe on an unprecedented scale. Patients have had diverse clinical outcomes, but those developing COVID-19-related coagulopathy have shown a disproportionately worse outcome. This narrative review summarizes current evidence regarding the epidemiology, [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted healthcare communities across the globe on an unprecedented scale. Patients have had diverse clinical outcomes, but those developing COVID-19-related coagulopathy have shown a disproportionately worse outcome. This narrative review summarizes current evidence regarding the epidemiology, clinical features, known and presumed pathophysiology-based models, and treatment guidance regarding COVID-19 coagulopathy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review
Use of Saliva for Diagnosis and Monitoring the SARS-CoV-2: A General Perspective
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(5), 1491; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051491 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 5540
Abstract
In this report, updated information and future perspectives about the use of saliva as a sample for laboratory analysis of the Covid-19 are highlighted. Saliva can be used for the direct detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the quantification of the specific immunoglobulins produced [...] Read more.
In this report, updated information and future perspectives about the use of saliva as a sample for laboratory analysis of the Covid-19 are highlighted. Saliva can be used for the direct detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the quantification of the specific immunoglobulins produced against it, and for the evaluation of the non-specific, innate immune response of the patient. Moreover, a deeper knowledge of potential changes in the saliva proteome in this disease may allow the identification of new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, or even help our understanding of the mechanisms associated with the disease. With the development of appropriate sample collection and processing methods and the use of adequate assays, saliva can provide useful clinical information about the disease and could be potentially included in guidelines for sample collection for the diagnosis, disease management, and control of Covid-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Other

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Brief Report
B-Type Natriuretic Peptide as Biomarker of COVID-19 Disease Severity—A Meta-Analysis
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(9), 2957; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9092957 - 12 Sep 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1271
Abstract
Up to 15% of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients experience severe clinical presentation, resulting in acute respiratory distress (ARDS) and finally death. N-terminal natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is associated with a worse prognosis in patients with ARDS. However, whether or not this peptide can [...] Read more.
Up to 15% of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients experience severe clinical presentation, resulting in acute respiratory distress (ARDS) and finally death. N-terminal natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is associated with a worse prognosis in patients with ARDS. However, whether or not this peptide can help discriminate high-risk COVID-19 patients remains unclear. Therefore, in this meta-analysis, we summarized the available evidence on NT-proBNP in patients admitted for COVID-19. Pooled mean, mean differences (MD) and standardized mean difference (SMD) were the summary metrics. Thirteen studies were finally selected for this analysis with a total of 2248 patients, of which 507 had a severe condition (n = 240) or died (n = 267). Pooled mean NT-proBNP levels on admission were 790.57 pg/mL (95% confidence intervals (CIs): 532.50 to 1048.64) in patients that experienced a severe clinical condition or died, and 160.56 pg/mL (95% CI: 118.15 to 202.96) in non-severe patients (SMD: 1.05; 95% (CI): 0.83 to 1.28; p < 0.001; I2 74%; and MD was 645.84 pg/mL (95% CI: 389.50–902.18). Results were consistent in studies categorizing patients as non-survivors versus survivors (SMD: 1.17; 95% CI 0.95 to 1.40; p < 0. 001; I2: 51%), and in those classifying populations in severe versus non-severe clinical condition (SMD: 0.94 95% CI 0.56 to 1.32; p < 0.001; I2: 81%; pinteraction = 0.30). In conclusion, our results suggest that assessing NT-proBNP may support physicians in discriminating high-risk COVID-19 patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Commentary
Does SARS-CoV-2 Trigger Stress-Induced Autoimmunity by Molecular Mimicry? A Hypothesis
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2038; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072038 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2361
Abstract
Viruses can generate molecular mimicry phenomena within their hosts. Why should severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) not be considered one of these? Information in this short review suggests that it might be so and, thus, encourages research aiming at testing this [...] Read more.
Viruses can generate molecular mimicry phenomena within their hosts. Why should severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) not be considered one of these? Information in this short review suggests that it might be so and, thus, encourages research aiming at testing this possibility. We propose, as a working hypothesis, that the virus induces antibodies and that some of them crossreact with host’s antigens, thus eliciting autoimmune phenomena with devasting consequences in various tissues and organs. If confirmed, by in vitro and in vivo tests, this could drive researchers to find effective treatments against the virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Perspective
Silibinin and SARS-CoV-2: Dual Targeting of Host Cytokine Storm and Virus Replication Machinery for Clinical Management of COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1770; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061770 - 07 Jun 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3659
Abstract
COVID-19, the illness caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly spreading global pandemic in urgent need of effective treatments. Here we present a comprehensive examination of the host- and virus-targeted functions of the flavonolignan silibinin, a potential drug candidate [...] Read more.
COVID-19, the illness caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly spreading global pandemic in urgent need of effective treatments. Here we present a comprehensive examination of the host- and virus-targeted functions of the flavonolignan silibinin, a potential drug candidate against COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2. As a direct inhibitor of STAT3—a master checkpoint regulator of inflammatory cytokine signaling and immune response—silibinin might be expected to phenotypically integrate the mechanisms of action of IL-6-targeted monoclonal antibodies and pan-JAK1/2 inhibitors to limit the cytokine storm and T-cell lymphopenia in the clinical setting of severe COVID-19. As a computationally predicted, remdesivir-like inhibitor of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp)—the central component of the replication/transcription machinery of SARS-CoV-2—silibinin is expected to reduce viral load and impede delayed interferon responses. The dual ability of silibinin to target both the host cytokine storm and the virus replication machinery provides a strong rationale for the clinical testing of silibinin against the COVID-19 global public health emergency. A randomized, open-label, phase II multicentric clinical trial (SIL-COVID19) will evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of silibinin in the prevention of acute respiratory distress syndrome in moderate-to-severe COVID-19-positive onco-hematological patients at the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Catalonia, Spain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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