When patients with COVID-19 arrive in emergency rooms, there are relatively few ways for doctors to predict which ones are more likely to become critically ill and require intensive care and which ones are more likely to enjoy a quick recovery.
New Yale research could help them identify important early clues. In a recent study, researchers report that a series of biomarkers, or biological signals, associated with white blood cell activation and obesity can predict severe outcomes in COVID-19 patients.
“Patients with high levels of these markers were much more like to require care in the intensive care unit, require ventilation, or die due to their COVID-19,” said Dr. Hyung Chun, the lead author, an associate professor of medicine in cardiovascular medicine and pathology and director of translational research at the Yale Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program.
Previously, a few laboratory studies had identified possible indicators of severe COVID-19, including D-dimer levels, a measure of blood coagulation, and levels of proteins known as cytokines, which are released as part of inflammatory responses in the body. However, until now, no laboratory marker could predict which patients with COVID-19 would eventually become critically ill prior to showing clinical signs and symptoms of severe disease.