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1.
Am J Forensic Med Pathol ; 42(1): 1-8, 2021 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066484

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread worldwide, infiltrating, infecting, and devastating communities in all locations of varying demographics. An overwhelming majority of published literature on the pathologic findings associated with COVID-19 is either from living clinical cohorts or from autopsy findings of those who died in a medical care setting, which can confound pure disease pathology. A relatively low initial infection rate paired with a high biosafety level enabled the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator to conduct full autopsy examinations on suspected COVID-19-related deaths. Full autopsy examination on the first 20 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2-positive decedents revealed that some extent of diffuse alveolar damage in every death due to COVID-19 played some role. The average decedent was middle-aged, male, American Indian, and overweight with comorbidities that included diabetes, ethanolism, and atherosclerotic and/or hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Macroscopic thrombotic events were seen in 35% of cases consisting of pulmonary thromboemboli and coronary artery thrombi. In 2 cases, severe bacterial coinfections were seen in the lungs. Those determined to die with but not of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection had unremarkable lung findings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Lung/pathology , Adult , Age Distribution , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Body Mass Index , Brain Edema/pathology , Cardiomegaly/pathology , Comorbidity , Coronary Thrombosis/pathology , Databases, Factual , Fatty Liver/pathology , Female , Forensic Pathology , Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental/pathology , Hepatomegaly/pathology , Humans , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Male , Middle Aged , Nephrosclerosis/pathology , New Mexico/epidemiology , Overweight/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pleural Effusion/diagnostic imaging , Pleural Effusion/pathology , Pulmonary Edema/diagnostic imaging , Pulmonary Edema/pathology , Sex Distribution , Streptococcus pneumoniae/isolation & purification , Tomography, X-Ray Computed , Vitreous Body/chemistry , Whole Body Imaging
2.
Circulation ; 143(10): 1031-1042, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1043632

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Cardiac injury is common in patients who are hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and portends poorer prognosis. However, the mechanism and the type of myocardial damage associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remain uncertain. METHODS: We conducted a systematic pathological analysis of 40 hearts from hospitalized patients dying of COVID-19 in Bergamo, Italy, to determine the pathological mechanisms of cardiac injury. We divided the hearts according to presence or absence of acute myocyte necrosis and then determined the underlying mechanisms of cardiac injury. RESULTS: Of the 40 hearts examined, 14 (35%) had evidence of myocyte necrosis, predominantly of the left ventricle. Compared with subjects without necrosis, subjects with necrosis tended to be female, have chronic kidney disease, and have shorter symptom onset to admission. The incidence of severe coronary artery disease (ie, >75% cross-sectional narrowing) was not significantly different between those with and without necrosis. Three of 14 (21.4%) subjects with myocyte necrosis showed evidence of acute myocardial infarction, defined as ≥1 cm2 area of necrosis, whereas 11 of 14 (78.6%) showed evidence of focal (>20 necrotic myocytes with an area of ≥0.05 mm2 but <1 cm2) myocyte necrosis. Cardiac thrombi were present in 11 of 14 (78.6%) cases with necrosis, with 2 of 14 (14.2%) having epicardial coronary artery thrombi, whereas 9 of 14 (64.3%) had microthrombi in myocardial capillaries, arterioles, and small muscular arteries. We compared cardiac microthrombi from COVID-19-positive autopsy cases to intramyocardial thromboemboli from COVID-19 cases as well as to aspirated thrombi obtained during primary percutaneous coronary intervention from uninfected and COVID-19-infected patients presenting with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction. Microthrombi had significantly greater fibrin and terminal complement C5b-9 immunostaining compared with intramyocardial thromboemboli from COVID-19-negative subjects and with aspirated thrombi. There were no significant differences between the constituents of thrombi aspirated from COVID-19-positive and -negative patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction. CONCLUSIONS: The most common pathological cause of myocyte necrosis was microthrombi. Microthrombi were different in composition from intramyocardial thromboemboli from COVID-19-negative subjects and from coronary thrombi retrieved from COVID-19-positive and -negative patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction. Tailored antithrombotic strategies may be useful to counteract the cardiac effects of COVID-19 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronary Thrombosis/etiology , Myocardial Infarction , Myocardium/pathology , Aged , COVID-19/pathology , Coronary Thrombosis/pathology , Coronary Thrombosis/virology , Coronary Vessels/pathology , Coronary Vessels/virology , Female , Heart/virology , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Myocardial Infarction/pathology , Myocardial Infarction/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction/epidemiology , ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction/virology
3.
Circulation ; 143(3): 230-243, 2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1039948

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its resultant clinical presentation, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is an emergent cause of mortality worldwide. Cardiac complications secondary to this infection are common; however, the underlying mechanisms of such remain unclear. A detailed cardiac evaluation of a series of individuals with COVID-19 undergoing postmortem evaluation is provided, with 4 aims: (1) describe the pathological spectrum of the myocardium; (2) compare with an alternate viral illness; (3) investigate angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 expression; and (4) provide the first description of the cardiac findings in patients with cleared infection. METHODS: Study cases were identified from institutional files and included COVID-19 (n=15: 12 active, 3 cleared), influenza A/B (n=6), and nonvirally mediated deaths (n=6). Salient information was abstracted from the medical record. Light microscopic findings were recorded. An angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 immunohistochemical H-score was compared across cases. Viral detection encompassed SARS-CoV-2 immunohistochemistry, ultrastructural examination, and droplet digital polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: Male sex was more common in the COVID-19 group (P=0.05). Nonocclusive fibrin microthrombi (without ischemic injury) were identified in 16 cases (12 COVID-19, 2 influenza, and 2 controls) and were more common in the active COVID-19 cohort (P=0.006). Four active COVID-19 cases showed focal myocarditis, whereas 1 case of cleared COVID-19 showed extensive disease. Arteriolar angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 endothelial expression was lower in COVID-19 cases than in controls (P=0.004). Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 myocardial expression did not differ by disease category, sex, age, or number of patient comorbidities (P=0.69, P=1.00, P=0.46, P=0.65, respectively). SARS-CoV-2 immunohistochemistry showed nonspecific staining, whereas ultrastructural examination and droplet digital polymerase chain reaction were negative for viral presence. Four patients (26.7%) with COVID-19 had underlying cardiac amyloidosis. Cases with cleared infection had variable presentations. CONCLUSIONS: This detailed histopathologic, immunohistochemical, ultrastructural, and molecular cardiac series showed no definitive evidence of direct myocardial infection. COVID-19 cases frequently have cardiac fibrin microthrombi, without universal acute ischemic injury. Moreover, myocarditis is present in 33.3% of patients with active and cleared COVID-19 but is usually limited in extent. Histological features of resolved infection are variable. Cardiac amyloidosis may be an additional risk factor for severe disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronary Thrombosis , Fibrin/metabolism , Myocardium , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/pathology , Child , Child, Preschool , Coronary Thrombosis/metabolism , Coronary Thrombosis/mortality , Coronary Thrombosis/pathology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Myocardium/metabolism , Myocardium/pathology
4.
Am J Forensic Med Pathol ; 42(1): 1-8, 2021 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1015415

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread worldwide, infiltrating, infecting, and devastating communities in all locations of varying demographics. An overwhelming majority of published literature on the pathologic findings associated with COVID-19 is either from living clinical cohorts or from autopsy findings of those who died in a medical care setting, which can confound pure disease pathology. A relatively low initial infection rate paired with a high biosafety level enabled the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator to conduct full autopsy examinations on suspected COVID-19-related deaths. Full autopsy examination on the first 20 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2-positive decedents revealed that some extent of diffuse alveolar damage in every death due to COVID-19 played some role. The average decedent was middle-aged, male, American Indian, and overweight with comorbidities that included diabetes, ethanolism, and atherosclerotic and/or hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Macroscopic thrombotic events were seen in 35% of cases consisting of pulmonary thromboemboli and coronary artery thrombi. In 2 cases, severe bacterial coinfections were seen in the lungs. Those determined to die with but not of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection had unremarkable lung findings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Lung/pathology , Adult , Age Distribution , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Body Mass Index , Brain Edema/pathology , Cardiomegaly/pathology , Comorbidity , Coronary Thrombosis/pathology , Databases, Factual , Fatty Liver/pathology , Female , Forensic Pathology , Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental/pathology , Hepatomegaly/pathology , Humans , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Male , Middle Aged , Nephrosclerosis/pathology , New Mexico/epidemiology , Overweight/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pleural Effusion/diagnostic imaging , Pleural Effusion/pathology , Pulmonary Edema/diagnostic imaging , Pulmonary Edema/pathology , Sex Distribution , Streptococcus pneumoniae/isolation & purification , Tomography, X-Ray Computed , Vitreous Body/chemistry , Whole Body Imaging
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