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Review: Thromboembolism Risk High in COVID-19 Patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2020 -- The rate of thromboembolism is high in patients with COVID-19 and is associated with increased odds of mortality, according to a review published online Nov. 20 in EClinicalMedicine.

Mahmoud B. Malas, M.D., from the University of California San Diego Health System, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining thromboembolism in COVID-19. Summary thromboembolism rates and odds ratios of mortality were compared for COVID-19 patients with versus without thromboembolism. Outcomes were stratified by setting of the study/disease (intensive care unit [ICU] versus non-ICU versus postmortem).

The researchers included 42 studies enrolling 8,271 patients in the meta-analysis. The overall venous thromboembolism rate was 21 percent (ICU, 31 percent). The rate of deep vein thrombosis was 20 percent overall (ICU, 28 percent; postmortem, 35 percent), and the rate of pulmonary embolism was 13 percent overall (ICU, 19 percent; postmortem, 22 percent). The arterial thromboembolism rate was 2 percent overall (ICU, 5 percent). Among patients with and without thromboembolism, the pooled mortality rates were 23 and 13 percent, respectively. Patients who developed thromboembolism had increased pooled odds of mortality compared with those who did not (odds ratio, 1.74).

"In addition to higher instances of blood clots, the mortality for patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and with thromboembolism was much higher, compared to patients without clots," Malas said in a statement. "It's unusual because we have never seen anything like this with other respiratory infections."

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Posted: December 2020

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