Assessing the stiffness of the arteries could help identify patients most at risk of dying from Covid-19, new research has revealed.
Estimated pulse wave velocity (ePWV) -- a readily available marker of aortic stiffening -- has been shown to be an effective addition in identifying patients at risk of death in hospital due to the virus.
Accurate risk stratification at hospital admission of these patients is of utmost clinical importance as it is needed to guide therapeutic strategies, suggest researchers in the paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.
A team led by Newcastle University researchers demonstrated that ePWV provides an additional clinical tool to refine risk stratification of hospitalised patients beyond established risk factors and scores.
The study included 1,671 people from the UK, Italy and Greece.
It was found that the addition of ePWV to clinical predictive markers or a validated mortality score improved the prognostic value for in-hospital mortality and therefore, could facilitate therapeutic decisions in acute Covid-19 disease.
"Our findings suggest that increased aortic stiffening may serve as a predictor of mortality in Covid-19 infection reflecting a cumulative surrogate of ageing and high-risk cardiovascular profile," said Konstantinos Stellos, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Newcastle.
The findings showed that ePWV was significantly higher in Covid-19 patients as compared to their non-Covid-19 counterparts.
Pulse-wave velocity (ePWV) is a measurement of arterial stiffness that is an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk. It can be measured simply and noninvasively by measuring the carotid and femoral pulse pressures, with sensors on the ankles and neck, and the time delay between the two or by other methods relying on pulse-wave analysis.