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The Value and Applicability of the Electrocardiography in Revealing the Cardiac Involvement of COVID-19 Patients

Sukaina Alrawashdeh, Nasr Alrabadi, Omar Obeidat, Nizar Alnabahneh, Fares Abu Zanouneh, Zain Almomani, Mohammad Aldalahmeh1, Rasheed Ibdah, Basheer Khassawneh.


Background: COVID-19 may have a role in myocardial injury in some patients, which can lead to multiple cardiovascular consequences. Electrocardiography (ECG) is useful to detect cardiac involvement of COVID-19. Objective: In this study, we aimed to identify the pattern of ECG findings in COVID-19 patients. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the clinical data of 176 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 along with their ECG findings on admission and during hospitalization. Results: Out of 176 patients, 56.8% were males. The mean age of the patients was 64.4 (SD: 15.4) years. Twenty-five patients were obese (Body mass index “BMI” > 30). Comorbidities including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and coronary artery disease were found in 70.5%, 52.3%, and 24.4% of patients, respectively. Only 17% of patients had normal ECG readings, and the rest had abnormalities of various types. Heart rate was normal in 67.6% of patients, the rest were tachycardiac (29.0%) or bradycardiac (3.4%). Findings included a widened QRS complex in 6.2% of patients, 79.0% of patients had a prolonged PR interval, and 9.1% had a prolonged QT interval. The most common ECG abnormalities were sinus tachycardia (20.5%) and atrial fibrillation (18.2%). We found a correlation between mortality and atrial fibrillation (p=0.021) and ventricular premature contraction (p=0.007). As for complications, atrial fibrillation and sinus tachycardia were significantly correlated with major complications including death, need for positive pressure ventilation (PPV), intensive care unit (ICU) admission, myocardial infarction, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Conclusion: ECG is a robust indicator of myocardial involvement of the COVID-19 patients. This study highlighted the diagnostic and prognostic importance of conducting ECG on admission and during hospitalization for COVID-19 patients. More investigation is required to determine the diagnostic accuracy and prognostic value of this modality.

Key words: ECG; COVID-19; Cardiac Abnormalities; Mortality; Survival; Prognosis.

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