Blood test may point to patients at higher risk for severe COVID-19

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George Washington University (GW) researchers found five biomarkers, medical indicators found in the blood, associated with higher odds of clinical deterioration and death in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, according to new research published in the journal Future Medicine. The findings could help physicians better predict outcomes for COVID-19 patients in the United States.

The research team evaluated 299 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 admitted to GW Hospital between March 12 and May 9. Of these patients, 200 had all five biomarkers being evaluated: IL-6, D-dimer, CRP, LDH, and ferritin.

Elevated levels of these biomarkers were associated with inflammation and bleeding disorder, showing an independent increased risk for ICU admission, invasive ventilatory support, and death. The highest odds of death occurred when the LDH level was greater than 1200 units/l and a D-dimer level was greater than 3 μg/ml.

Currently, physicians determine risk for COVID-19 deterioration and death based on age and certain underlying medical conditions, like having an immunocompromised state, obesity, and heart disease. Performing a simple blood test for patients admitted to the emergency department, then also making decisions based on biomarkers present, may further aid point-of-care clinical decision making, the researchers said.

The research team said in a statement that it will continue to analyze this data to help physicians make more informed decisions for patients, as well as help hospitals that may need to stratify resources.

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