Pericardial Involvement in Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19: Prevalence, Associates, and Clinical Implications

Eihab Ghantous, Yishay Szekely, Yael Lichter, Erez Levi, Philippe Taieb, Ariel Banai, Orly Sapir, Yoav Granot, Lior Lupu, Aviram Hochstadt, Ilan Merdler, Ariel Borohovitz, Sapir Sadon, Merav Ingbir, Michal Laufer-Perl, Shmuel Banai, Yan Topilsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The scope of pericardial involvement in COVID-19 infection is unknown. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence, associates, and clinical impact of pericardial involvement in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. METHODS AND RESULTS: Consecutive patients with COVID-19 underwent clinical and echocardiographic examination, irrespective of clinical indication, within 48 hours as part of a prospective predefined protocol. Protocol included clinical symptoms and signs suggestive of pericarditis, calculation of modified early warning score, ECG and echocardiographic assessment for pericardial effusion, left and right ventricular systolic and diastolic function, and hemodynamics. We identified predictors of mortality and assessed the adjunctive value of pericardial effusion on top of clinical and echocardiographic parameters. The study included 530 patients. Pericardial effusion was found in 75 (14%), but only 17 patients (3.2%) fulfilled the criteria for acute pericarditis. Pericardial effusion was independently associated with modified early warning score, brain natriuretic peptide, and right ventricular function. It was associated with excess mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 2.44; P=0.0005) in nonadjusted analysis. In multivariate analysis adjusted for modified early warning score and echocardiographic and hemodynamic parameters, it was marginally associated with mortality (HR, 1.86; P=0.06) and improvement in the model fit (P=0.07). Combined assessment for pericardial effusion with modified early warning score, left ventricular ejection fraction, and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion was an independent predictor of outcome (HR, 1.86; P=0.02) and improved model fit (P=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: In hospitalized patients with COVID-19, pericardial effusion is prevalent, but rarely attributable to acute pericarditis. It is associated with myocardial dysfunction and mortality. A limited echocardiographic examination, including left ventricular ejection fraction, tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, and assessment for pericardial effusion, can contribute to outcome prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere024363
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - 5 Apr 2022


FundersFunder number
NOVARTIS Israel Ltd.


    • COVID-19
    • acute pericarditis
    • echocardiography
    • pericardial effusion


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