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Integrated clinical role of echocardiography in patients with COVID-19
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  1. Matteo Pagnesi1,
  2. Luca Baldetti1,
  3. Alessandro Beneduce2,
  4. Francesco Calvo1,
  5. Mario Gramegna1,
  6. Vittorio Pazzanese1,
  7. Giacomo Ingallina3,
  8. Antonio Napolano3,
  9. Renato Finazzi4,
  10. Annalisa Ruggeri5,
  11. Silvia Ajello6,
  12. Giulio Melisurgo6,
  13. Paolo Guido Camici7,
  14. Paolo Scarpellini8,
  15. Moreno Tresoldi4,
  16. Giovanni Landoni7,9,
  17. Fabio Ciceri5,7,
  18. Anna Mara Scandroglio6,9,
  19. Eustachio Agricola3,7,
  20. Alberto Maria Cappelletti1
  1. 1Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  2. 2Interventional Cardiology Department, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  3. 3Cardiovascular Imaging Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  4. 4Unit of General Medicine and Advanced Care, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  5. 5Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  6. 6Cardio-thoracic Intensive Care Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  7. 7Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy
  8. 8Department of Infectious Disease, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  9. 9Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matteo Pagnesi, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina 60, 20132, Milan, Italy; m.pagnesi{at}gmail.com

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The Authors' reply:

We are grateful to Dr Lazzeri et al1 for their interest in our paper.2 We agree entirely with their considerations about cardiovascular involvement and the role of echocardiographic assessment in patients with COVID-19. Since myocardial injury is frequently observed in hospitalised patients with COVID-19, only an integrated approach, weighting the relative contribution of factors associated with a primitive ‘cardiac’ injury and of those associated with a secondary involvement, may lead to appropriate diagnosis and treatment. In this context, combined heart and lung multimodality imaging can be particularly useful for diagnosis, risk stratification and potentially also therapeutic management.3 Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain myocardial injury during COVID-19, encompassing multiple pathophysiological pathways (acute ischaemic vs non-ischaemic injury or primary non-cardiac conditions); interestingly, troponin release was consistently found as a powerful prognostic indicator, even though detailed studies assessing the prognostic impact of each leading mechanism of myocardial injury are currently lacking.4

Our study suggests that also raise in pulmonary pressure values is of prognostic relevance. Of note, this is true also for modest increment, greatly limiting the discriminatory capability of echocardiographic assessment. As Lazzeri et al suggest, a number of coexisting factors may justify pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular involvement in patients with COVID-19, including the severity of lung involvement, the type of mechanical ventilation and the occurrence of pulmonary thromboembolic events (or local thrombotic phenomena).2 5–8 Thereby, we believe that echocardiography plays a central role in identifying ‘higher risk’ patients, but these patients should then be offered a more refined diagnostic pathway, also including lung imaging, to better characterise the heart–lung interaction.

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Footnotes

  • MP and LB contributed equally.

  • Contributors MP and LB drafted the letter. All the other authors contributed to the revisions.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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