Biomarkers of Cardiac Stress and Cytokine Release Syndrome in COVID-19: A Review

Jonathan S. Gordon, Mark H. Drazner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) resulted in the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. While primarily a respiratory virus, SARS-CoV-2 can cause myocardial injury. The pattern of injury, referred to as acute COVID-19 cardiovascular syndrome (ACovCS), is defined by cardiac troponin leak in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease. Although the etiology of the injury is unknown, many speculate that a cytokine release syndrome (CRS) may be an important factor. We aim to review recent data concerning markers of cardiac injury in ACovCS and its relation to the CRS. Recent Findings: Cardiac injury was common in patients hospitalized for COVID-19, with both cardiac troponin and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) being elevated in this population. Biomarkers were correlated with illness severity and increased mortality. Cytokines such as IL-6 were more often elevated in patients with ACovCS. Myocarditis evident on cardiac MR following COVID-19 may be associated with cardiac troponin levels. The impact of dexamethasone and remdesivir, two therapies shown to have clinical benefit in COVID-19, on myocardial injury is unknown. Summary: Biomarkers of cardiac stress and injury in COVID-19 may be used to stratify risk in the future. Currently, there is no evidence that inhibition of cytokine release will reduce myocardial injury in patients with COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent heart failure reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • BNP
  • COVID-19
  • cardiac biomarkers
  • coronavirus
  • cytokine release syndrome
  • troponin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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