Endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19: a position paper of the ESC Working Group for Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology, and the ESC Council of Basic Cardiovascular Science

Evans, P. C. et al. (2020) Endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19: a position paper of the ESC Working Group for Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology, and the ESC Council of Basic Cardiovascular Science. Cardiovascular Research, 116(14), pp. 2177-2184. (doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvaa230) (PMID:32750108) (PMCID:PMC7454368)

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The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented healthcare emergency causing mortality and illness across the world. Although primarily affecting the lungs, the SARS-CoV-2 virus also affects the cardiovascular system. In addition to cardiac effects, e.g. myocarditis, arrhythmias, and myocardial damage, the vasculature is affected in COVID-19, both directly by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and indirectly as a result of a systemic inflammatory cytokine storm. This includes the role of the vascular endothelium in the recruitment of inflammatory leucocytes where they contribute to tissue damage and cytokine release, which are key drivers of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), in disseminated intravascular coagulation, and cardiovascular complications in COVID-19. There is also evidence linking endothelial cells (ECs) to SARS-CoV-2 infection including: (i) the expression and function of its receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in the vasculature; (ii) the prevalence of a Kawasaki disease-like syndrome (vasculitis) in COVID-19; and (iii) evidence of EC infection with SARS-CoV-2 in patients with fatal COVID-19. Here, the Working Group on Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology together with the Council of Basic Cardiovascular Science of the European Society of Cardiology provide a Position Statement on the importance of the endothelium in the underlying pathophysiology behind the clinical presentation in COVID-19 and identify key questions for future research to address. We propose that endothelial biomarkers and tests of function (e.g. flow-mediated dilatation) should be evaluated for their usefulness in the risk stratification of COVID-19 patients. A better understanding of the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on endothelial biology in both the micro- and macrovasculature is required, and endothelial function testing should be considered in the follow-up of convalescent COVID-19 patients for early detection of long-term cardiovascular complications.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, endothelium.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Guzik, Professor Tomasz
Authors: Evans, P. C., Rainger, G. E., Mason, J. C., Guzik, T. J., Osto, E., Stamataki, Z., Neil, D., Hoefer, I. E., Fragiadaki, M., Waltenberger, J., Weber, C., Bochaton-Piallat, M.-L., and Bäck, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health
Journal Name:Cardiovascular Research
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1755-3245
Published Online:04 August 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Cardiovascular Research 116(14):2177–2184
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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