Investigation of hs-TnI and sST-2 as Potential Predictors of Long-Term Cardiovascular Risk in Patients with Survived Hospitalization for COVID-19 Pneumonia
Introduction: COVID-19 survivors reveal an increased long-term risk for cardiovascular disease. Biomarkers like troponins and sST-2 improve stratification of cardiovascular risk. Nevertheless, their prognostic value for identifying long-term cardiovascular risk after having survived COVID-19 has yet to be evaluated. Methods: In this single-center study, admission serum biomarkers of sST-2 and hs-TnI in a single cohort of 251 hospitalized COVID-19 survivors were evaluated. Concentrations were correlated with major cardiovascular events (MACE) defined as cardiovascular death and/or need for cardiovascular hospitalization during follow-up after hospital discharge [FU: 415 days (403; 422)]. Results: MACE was a frequent finding during FU with an incidence of 8.4% (cardiovascular death: 2.8% and/or need for cardiovascular hospitalization: 7.2%). Both biomarkers were reliable indicators of MACE (hs-TnI: sensitivity = 66.7% & specificity = 65.7%; sST-2: sensitivity = 33.3% & specificity = 97.4%). This was confirmed in a multivariate proportional-hazards analysis: besides age (HR = 1.047, 95% CI = 1.012–1.084, p = 0.009), hs-TnI (HR = 4.940, 95% CI = 1.904–12.816, p = 0.001) and sST-2 (HR = 10.901, 95% CI = 4.509–29.271, p < 0.001) were strong predictors of MACE. The predictive value of the model was further improved by combining both biomarkers with the factor age (concordance index hs-TnI + sST2 + age = 0.812). Conclusion: During long-term FU, hospitalized COVID-19 survivors, hs-TnI and sST-2 at admission, were strong predictors of MACE, indicating both proteins to be involved in post-acute sequelae of COVID-19.