Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

SARS-CoV-2-Infection (COVID-19): Clinical Course and Cause(s) of Death

Version 1 : Received: 11 April 2022 / Approved: 13 April 2022 / Online: 13 April 2022 (08:27:30 CEST)

How to cite: Ramadori, G. SARS-CoV-2-Infection (COVID-19): Clinical Course and Cause(s) of Death. Preprints 2022, 2022040118. Ramadori, G. SARS-CoV-2-Infection (COVID-19): Clinical Course and Cause(s) of Death. Preprints 2022, 2022040118.


ABSTRACT Two years after first patients approached the emergency rooms of hospitals in Wuhan becouse of respiratory distress,thousend of SARS-CoV-2 infected persons continue to die every day worldwide.SARS-CoV-2-infected patients undergo a process of dehydration and malnutrition before they develop respiratory problems and approach the emergency room of a hospital.This is,in many cases, the consequence of high fever which causes massive loss of fluids. In addition loss of appetite, is responsible for the deficit of protein intake.Most of the virus-infected patients admitted to the emergency room are therefore hypovolemic and hypoproteinemic and suffer of respiratory distress accompanied by ground grass opacities at CT-scan of the lungs.Critically ill patients are treated following the guidelines for treatment of septic shock but with „conservative“ fluid replacement and administration of diuretics to assure sufficient hourly urine production. The combination of conservative fluid administration with reduced protein content in the enterally administered diet, together with administration of diuretics, has severe hemodynamic consequenses in mostly aged,dehydrated,critically ill patients. Many of them will develop acute kidney injury in the next 24 hours.In most of the cases, patients continue to loose weight by loosing skeletal muscle mass. Ischemic damage in the lung capillaries is responsible for the acute respiratory distreass syndrome (ARDS) and for the hallmark of autoptic findings,diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) characterized by hyaline membrane formation,fluid invasion of the alveoli recruitment of some inflammatory cells and progressive arrest of blood flow in the pulmonary vessels.The consequence is progressive congestion , increase of lung weight and progressive hypoxia (progressive severity of ARDS).Sequestration of blood in the lungs worsen hypovolemia and ischemia in different organs.This is most probably responsible for recruitment of inflammatory cells and for persistance of elevated serum levels of positive acute-phase markers and of hypoalbuminemia. Autoptic studies have been performed mostly in patients who died in the ICU after SARS-CoV-2-infection because of progessive ARDS.In those patients, tubulus epithelium necrosis in the kidney is a frequent finding as it has been the case in the first SARS-CoV-1 pandemic.In the death certification charts, many times weeks after first symptoms have started ,cardiac arrest is the cause of death after respitatory insufficiency.Replacement therapy with sufficient amount of fluid and albumin should be part of the early individualized life-saving supportive measures avoiding mechanical ventilation.


SARS-CoV-2-infection; dehydration; hypoalbuminemia; pulmonary hypoxia; hyaline memrane; pulmonary engorgement; lung weight; acute respiratory distress syndrome; diffuse alveolar damage (DAD)


Medicine and Pharmacology, Pathology and Pathobiology

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