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Puhr-Westerheide, Daniel; Reich, Jakob; Sabel, Bastian O.; Kunz, Wolfgang G.; Fabritius, Matthias P.; Reidler, Paul; Rübenthaler, Johannes; Ingrisch, Michael; Wassilowsky, Dietmar; Irlbeck, Michael; Ricke, Jens and Gresser, Eva (2022): Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Outperforms Quantitative Chest CT Imaging Parameters for Mortality Prediction in COVID-19 ARDS. In: Diagnostics, Vol. 12, No. 1, 10

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(1) Background: Respiratory insufficiency with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multi-organ dysfunction leads to high mortality in COVID-19 patients. In times of limited intensive care unit (ICU) resources, chest CTs became an important tool for the assessment of lung involvement and for patient triage despite uncertainties about the predictive diagnostic value. This study evaluated chest CT-based imaging parameters for their potential to predict in-hospital mortality compared to clinical scores. (2) Methods: 89 COVID-19 ICU ARDS patients requiring mechanical ventilation or continuous positive airway pressure mask ventilation were included in this single center retrospective study. AI-based lung injury assessment and measurements indicating pulmonary hypertension (PA-to-AA ratio) on admission CT, oxygenation indices, lung compliance and sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores on ICU admission were assessed for their diagnostic performance to predict in-hospital mortality. (3) Results: CT severity scores and PA-to-AA ratios were not significantly associated with in-hospital mortality, whereas the SOFA score showed a significant association (p < 0.001). In ROC analysis, the SOFA score resulted in an area under the curve (AUC) for in-hospital mortality of 0.74 (95%-CI 0.63-0.85), whereas CT severity scores (0.53, 95%-CI 0.40-0.67) and PA-to-AA ratios (0.46, 95%-CI 0.34-0.58) did not yield sufficient AUCs. These results were consistent for the subgroup of more critically ill patients with moderate and severe ARDS on admission (oxygenation index <200, n = 53) with an AUC for SOFA score of 0.77 (95%-CI 0.64-0.89), compared to 0.55 (95%-CI 0.39-0.72) for CT severity scores and 0.51 (95%-CI 0.35-0.67) for PA-to-AA ratios. (4) Conclusions: Severe COVID-19 disease is not limited to lung (vessel) injury but leads to a multi-organ involvement. The findings of this study suggest that risk stratification should not solely be based on chest CT parameters but needs to include multi-organ failure assessment for COVID-19 ICU ARDS patients for optimized future patient management and resource allocation.

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