van Dam LF, et al. Thromb Res 2020.
INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 infections are associated with a high prevalence of venous thromboembolism, particularly pulmonary embolism (PE). It is suggested that COVID-19 associated PE represents in situ immunothrombosis rather than venous thromboembolism, although the origin of thrombotic lesions in COVID-19 patients remains largely unknown.
METHODS: In this study, we assessed the clinical and computed tomography (CT) characteristics of PE in 23 consecutive patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and compared these to those of 100 consecutive control patients diagnosed with acute PE before the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, RV/LV diameter ratio, pulmonary artery trunk diameter and total thrombus load (according to Qanadli score) were measured and compared.
RESULTS: We observed that all thrombotic lesions in COVID-19 patients were found to be in lung parenchyma affected by COVID-19. Also, the thrombus load was lower in COVID-19 patients (Qanadli score -8%, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] -16 to -0.36%) as was the prevalence of the most proximal PE in the main/lobar pulmonary artery (17% versus 47%; -30%, 95%CI -44% to -8.2). Moreover, the mean RV/LV ratio (mean difference -0.23, 95%CI -0.39 to -0.07) and the prevalence of RV/LV ratio >1.0 (prevalence difference -23%, 95%CI -41 to -0.86%) were lower in the COVID-19 patients.
CONCLUSION: Our findings therefore suggest that the phenotype of COVID-19 associated PE indeed differs from PE in patients without COVID-19, fuelling the discussion on its pathophysiology.