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WCID 2024

Xinxin Wang

Xinxin Wang, Speaker at Infection Conferences
Peking University, China
Title : Pulmonary vascular endothelial injury and acute pulmonary hypertension caused by COVID-19: The fundamental cause of refractory hypoxemia?


Coronavirus disease (COVID- 19) is a severe infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that binds to the cells; angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. In the first severe case of COVID- 19 in Shenzhen city, we found that in addition to the typical clinical manifestations, our patient presented hemoptysis, refractory hypoxemia and pulmonary fibrosis- like changes on computed tomography (CT) involving alveoli and pulmonary interstitium in the early stage and acute pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure in the later stage, which were not completely justified by myocarditis, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pulmonary fibrosis and high PEEP level.

The lung compliance deteriation of this patient was not as serious as we expected, indicating classic ARDS was not existed. Simultaneously, the first autopsy report of COVID- 19 in China showed normal- structured alveoli and massive thick excretion in the airway. Then, we speculated that the virus not only attacked alveolar epithelial cells, but also affected pulmonary vascular endothelial cells.

Imbalance in the ACE2-RAAS- bradykinin axis and the cytokine storm could be an important mechanism leading to pathophysiological changes in pulmonary vascular and secondary refractory hypoxemia. Pulmonary vasculitis or capillaritis associated to immune damage and an inflammatory storm could exist in COVID- 19 because of ground-glass opacities in the subpleural area, which are similar to connective tissue disease associated interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD). Thus, this case elucidates new treatment measures for COVID- 19

Audience Take Away:

  • What was the reasonfor acute pulmonary hypertension?
  • Did the right heartfailure induced by high PEEP besides pulmonary hypertension?
  • What was the role of autoimmune responses in the case?
  • What was the result of imbalance among the ACE2- RAAS-bradykinin axis?
  • What message had been transmitted by autopsy?
  • Did the case show classic ARDS?


Dr. Wang Xinxin obtained his clinical medical degree from Southern Medical University in 2011. She then undertook standardized training at Peking Union Medical College Hospital from 2011 to 2014, and successfully graduated. Since 2014, she has been dedicated to the field of critical care medicine and has earned a master's degree. Dr. Wang has long been committed to the clinical work of critical care medicine.


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