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Cardiac adipose tissue volume and IL-6 level at admission are complementary predictors of severity and short-term mortality in COVID-19 diabetic patients

Abstract : Background: COVID-19 diabetic adults are at increased risk of severe forms irrespective of obesity. In patients with type-II diabetes, fat distribution is characterized by visceral and ectopic adipose tissues expansion, resulting in systemic inflammation, which may play a role in driving the COVID-19 cytokine storm. Our aim was to determine if cardiac adipose tissue, combined to interleukin-6 levels, could predict adverse short-term outcomes, death and ICU requirement, in COVID-19 diabetic patients during the 21 days after admission. Methods: Eighty one consecutive patients with type-II diabetes admitted for COVID-19 were included. Interleukin-6 measurement and chest computed tomography with total cardiac adipose tissue index (CATi) measurement were performed at admission. The primary outcome was death during the 21 days following admission while intensive care requirement with or without early death (ICU-R) defined the secondary endpoint. Associations of CATi and IL-6 and threshold values to predict the primary and secondary endpoints were determined. Results: Of the enrolled patients (median age 66 years [IQR: 59–74]), 73% male, median body mass index (BMI) 27 kg/m2 [IQR: 24–31]) 20 patients had died from COVID-19, 20 required intensive care and 41 were in conventional care at day 21 after admission. Increased CATi and IL-6 levels were both significantly related to increased early mortality (respectively OR = 6.15, p = 0.002; OR = 18.2, p < 0.0001) and ICU-R (respectively OR = 3.27, p = 0.01; OR = 4.86, p = 0.002). These associations remained significant independently of age, sex, BMI as well as troponin-T level and pulmonary lesion extension in CT. We combined CATi and IL-6 levels as a multiplicative interaction score (CATi*IL-6). The cut-point for this score was ≥ 6386 with a sensitivity of 0.90 and a specificity of 0.87 (AUC = 0.88) and an OR of 59.6 for early mortality (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Cardiac adipose tissue index and IL-6 determination at admission could help physicians to better identify diabetic patients with a potentially severe and lethal short term course irrespective of obesity. Diabetic patients with high CATi at admission, a fortiori associated with high IL-6 levels could be a relevant target population to promptly initiate anti-inflammatory therapies.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 12:31:51 PM
Last modification on : Monday, December 6, 2021 - 4:32:02 PM


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Franck Phan, Samia Boussouar, Olivier Lucidarme, Mohamed Zarai, Joe-Elie Salem, et al.. Cardiac adipose tissue volume and IL-6 level at admission are complementary predictors of severity and short-term mortality in COVID-19 diabetic patients. Cardiovascular Diabetology, BioMed Central, 2021, 20, pp.165. ⟨10.1186/s12933-021-01327-1⟩. ⟨hal-03346419⟩



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