Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients Show Reduced Point of Care-Measured Butyrylcholinesterase Activity : A Prospective, Monocentric Observational Study

A biomarker for risk stratification and disease severity assessment in SARS-CoV-2 infections has not yet been established. Point of care testing (POCT) of butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) enables early detection of systemic inflammatory responses and correlates with disease severity in sepsis and burns. In acute care or resource-limited settings, POCT facilitates rapid clinical decision making, a particularly beneficial aspect in the management of pandemic situations. In this prospective observational study, POCT-measured BChE activity was assessed in 52 critically ill COVID-19 patients within 24 h of ICU admission and on the third and seventh day after ICU admission. Forty (77%) of these patients required venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (vvECMO). In critically ill COVID-19 patients, BChE activity is significantly decreased compared with healthy subjects, but also compared with other inflammatory conditions such as sepsis, burns, or trauma. POCT BChE activity reflects the severity of organ dysfunction and allows prediction of 28-day mortality in critically ill COVID-19 patients. Implementing early POCT BChE measurement could facilitate risk stratification and support admission and transfer decisions in resource-limited settings.


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