Br J Radiol. 2020 Jul 31:20200407. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20200407. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: To present a single-centre experience on CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) for the assessment of hospitalised COVID-19 patients with moderate-to-high risk of pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE).
METHODS: We analysed consecutive COVID-19 patients (RT-PCR confirmed) undergoing CTPA in March 2020 for PTE clinical suspicion. Clinical data were retrieved. Two experienced radiologists reviewed CTPAs to assess pulmonary parenchyma and vascular findings.
RESULTS: Among 34 patients who underwent CTPA, 26 had PTE (76%, 20 males, median age 61 years, interquartile range 54-70), 20/26 (77%) with comorbidities (mainly hypertension, 44%), and 8 (31%) subsequently dying. Eight PTE patients were under thromboprophylaxis with low-molecular-weight heparin, four PTE patients had lower-limbs deep vein thrombosis at ultrasound examination (performed in 33/34 patients). Bilateral PTE characterised 19/26 cases, with main branches involved in 10/26 cases. Twelve patients had a parenchymal involvement >75%, the predominant pneumonia pattern being consolidation in 10/26 patients, ground glass opacities in 9/26, crazy paving in 5/26, and both ground glass opacities and consolidation in 2/26.
CONCLUSION: COVID-19 patients are prone to PTE.
ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: PTE, potentially attributable to an underlying thrombophilic status, may be more frequent than expected in COVID-19 patients. Extension of prophylaxis and adaptation of diagnostic criteria should be considered.