Background: Currently, there are no biomarkers to predict respiratory worsening in patients with Coronavirus infectious disease, 2019 (COVID- 19) pneumonia.
Objectives: We aimed to determine the prognostic value of Krebs von de Lungen-6 circulating serum levels (sKL-6) predicting COVID- 19 evolving trends.
Methods: We prospectively analyzed the clinical and laboratory characteristics of 375 COVID- 19 patients with mild lung disease on admission. sKL-6 was obtained in all patients at baseline and compared among patients with respiratory worsening.
Results: 45.1% of patients developed respiratory worsening during hospitalization. Baseline sKL-6 levels were higher in patients who had respiratory worsening (median [IQR] 303 [209-449] vs. 285.5 [15.8-5724], P=0.068). The best sKL-6 cut-off point was 408 U/mL (area under the curve 0.55; 33% sensitivity, 79% specificity). Independent predictors of respiratory worsening were sKL-6 serum levels, age >51 years, time hospitalized, and dyspnea on admission. Patients with baseline sKL-6 ≥ 408 U/mL had a 39% higher risk of developing respiratory aggravation seven days after admission. In patients with serial determinations, sKL-6 was also higher in those who subsequently worsened (median [IQR] 330 [219-460] vs 290.5 [193-396]; p<0.02).
Conclusion: sKL-6 has a low sensibility to predict respiratory worsening in patients with mild COVID-19 pneumonia. Baseline sKL-6 ≥ 408 U/mL is associated to a higher risk of respiratory worsening. sKL-6 levels are not useful as a screening tool to stratify patients on admission but further research is needed to investigate if serial determinations of sKL-6 may be of prognostic use.
References: Zhou F, Yu T, Du R, Fan G, Liu Y, Liu Z, et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1054-62. 5.
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Disclosure of Interests: None declared.
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