Right ventricular dysfunction in ventilated patients with COVID-19 (COVID-RV)

University of Glasgow

Past award

Principal Investigator: Dr Benjamin Shelley

Year Award Started: 2020

Approximately five of every hundred cases of confirmed COVID-19 will develop symptoms so severe they will require treatment in an intensive care unit. This is often for severe breathing difficulties requiring the patient to be put on a ventilator (breathing machine). In similar conditions requiring ventilation, we know pressure can be put on the right side of the heart (‘the right ventricle or ‘RV’’; the part pumping blood to the lungs). This ‘RV dysfunction’ results in the heart struggling to pump blood forward along with a build-up of back pressure. We know these patients are less likely to survive intensive care unit admission. No scientists have examined the RV in patients with COVID-19, but much of what we know about COVID-19 suggests it is likely to be a problem. Using non-invasive ultrasound scans of the heart (echocardiography) we will determine how many patients ventilated with COVID-19 have problems with their RV, if those patients with RV dysfunction are more likely to die following intensive care unit admission and if other conditions or treatments increase their risk. By identifying RV dysfunction, we may be able to guide future studies to determine if any specific targeted treatments can improve outcomes.

Research area: Cardiovascular conditions