Unusually Rapid Development of Pulmonary Hypertension and Right Ventricular Failure after COVID-19 Pneumonia

Christel Mp van Dongen, Marlou Thf Janssen, Robrecht Pj van der Horst, Dave Jw van Kraaij, Ralph Hrm Peeters, Leon M van den Toorn, Rémy Lm Mostard
European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine 2020, 7 (7): 001784

COVID-19 is a novel viral disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. The mid- and long-term outcomes have not yet been determined. COVID-19 infection is increasingly being associated with systemic and multi-organ involvement, encompassing cytokine release syndrome and thromboembolic, vascular and cardiac events. The patient described experienced unusually rapid development of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and right ventricular failure after recent severe COVID-19 pneumonia with cytokine release syndrome, which initially was successfully treated with methylprednisolone and tocilizumab. The development of pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular failure - in the absence of emboli on multiple CT angiograms - was most likely caused by progressive pulmonary parenchymal abnormalities combined with microvascular damage of the pulmonary arteries (group III and IV pulmonary hypertension, respectively). To the best of our knowledge, these complications have not previously been described and therefore awareness of PH as a complication of COVID-19 is warranted.

LEARNING POINTS: COVID-19 increasingly presents with systemic and multi-organ involvement with vascular, thromboembolic and cardiac events.Patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and concomitant cytokine release syndrome may be particularly at risk for the development of secondary pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular failure.Pulmonary hypertension can develop unusually rapidly following COVID-19 pneumonia and probably results from progressive pulmonary interstitial and microvascular abnormalities due to COVID-19.

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