Ultrasound, Cardiac CT Valuable in COVID-19 Assessment

Ultrasound, Cardiac CT Valuable in COVID-19 Assessment

Neil Osterweil

July 28, 2020

Cardiac CT is also extremely helpful for determining whether patients with ECGfindings suggestive of infarction have suffered an actual thrombotic event.

“These patients may best be served by a noninvasive study as compared to an invasive coronary angiogram,” he said.

Clinical Scenarios

Cardiologists may be called in to consult on the evaluation of possible cardiogenic components of pulmonary abnormalities in patients who present with dyspnea and chest x-rays showing airspace or interstitial infiltrates suggestive of pneumonia, the authors noted.

“Clinicians will rely on history, physical exam, ECG [electrocardiogram] and biomarkers, and recent cardiac imaging tests if available. Underlying cardiac history including [coronary artery disease], cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and arrhythmia should be sought, and frequent contributors to decompensation should be eliminated,” they wrote.

For patients with suspected cardiac injury, either point-of-care ultrasound or limited echocardiography can be used for the initial evaluation, with additional, more advanced technologies called into play for specific clinical scenarios outlined in the guidance.

For example, the guidance recommends that patients with chest pain and abnormal ECG readings with clinical concern for ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome or high clinical risk for in-hospital mortality from conditions such as cardiogenic shock, dynamic ST-segment changes, or left ventricular ejection fraction less than 40% thought to be caused by non–ST-elevation myocardial infarction be referred for emergent coronary angiography and reperfusion.

In contrast, in patients with chest pain and abnormal ECG but equivocal symptoms, atypical or equivocal ECG abnormalities, or late presentations, point-of-care ultrasound or limited echocardiogram could be used to look for regional wall motion abnormalities and left ventricular ejection fraction, whereas in patients with chest pain and ST-elevation without clear evidence of ST-elevation myocardial infarction, coronary CT angiography can help to rule out ACS and point to alternate diagnoses, the authors said.

The guidance also offers recommendations for imaging in patients with hemodynamic instability (shock or hypotension), patients with new left ventricular dysfunction in the absence of shock or hypotension, and patients with subacute and chronic-phase disease.

Development of the guidance document was supported by the ACC. Dr. Di Carli disclosed institutional grant support from Gilead Sciences and Spectrum Dynamics, and consulting income from Janssen and Bayer.

J Am Coll Cardiol. Published online July 20, 2020. Abstract

 This article originally appeared on MDEdge.com.

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