Prognostic Value of Electrocardiographic QRS Diminution in Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19 or Influenza

Joshua Lampert, Michael Miller, Jonathan Lee Halperin, Connor Oates, Gennaro Giustino, Kyle Nelson, Jason Feinman, Nikola Kocovic, Matthew Pulaski, Daniel Musikantow, Mohit Kiran Turagam, Aamir Sofi, Subbarao Choudry, Marie Noelle Langan, Jacob Sam Koruth, William Whang, Marc Andrew Miller, Srinivas Rao Dukkipati, Adel Bassily-Marcus, Roopa Kohli-SethMartin Elliot Goldman, Vivek Yerrapu Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


During the clinical care of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, diminished QRS amplitude on the surface electrocardiogram (ECG) was observed to precede clinical decompensation, culminating in death. This prompted investigation into the prognostic utility and specificity of low QRS complex amplitude (LoQRS) in COVID-19. We retrospectively analyzed consecutive adults admitted to a telemetry service with SARS-CoV-2 (n = 140) or influenza (n = 281) infection with a final disposition—death or discharge. LoQRS was defined as a composite of QRS amplitude <5 mm or <10 mm in the limb or precordial leads, respectively, or a ≥50% decrease in QRS amplitude on follow-up ECG during hospitalization. LoQRS was more prevalent in patients with COVID-19 than influenza (24.3% vs 11.7%, p = 0.001), and in patients who died than survived with either COVID-19 (48.1% vs 10.2%, p <0.001) or influenza (38.9% vs 9.9%, p <0.001). LoQRS was independently associated with mortality in patients with COVID-19 when adjusted for baseline clinical variables (odds ratio [OR] 11.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.9 to 33.8, p <0.001), presenting and peak troponin, D-dimer, C-reactive protein, albumin, intubation, and vasopressor requirement (OR 13.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 145.5, p = 0.029). The median time to death in COVID-19 from the first ECG with LoQRS was 52 hours (interquartile range 18 to 130). Dynamic QRS amplitude diminution is a strong independent predictor of death over not only the course of COVID-19 infection, but also influenza infection. In conclusion, this finding may serve as a pragmatic prognostication tool reflecting evolving clinical changes during hospitalization, over a potentially actionable time interval for clinical reassessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2021


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