The potential of low molecular weight heparin to mitigate cytokine storm in severe COVID-19 patients: a retrospective cohort study

Link to article at PubMed

Clin Transl Sci. 2020 Sep 3. doi: 10.1111/cts.12880. Online ahead of print.


On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared its assessment of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. However, specific anti SARS-CoV-2 drugs are still under development, and patients are managed by multiple complementary treatments. We performed a retrospective analysis to compare and evaluate the effect of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) treatment on disease progression. For this purpose, the clinical records and laboratory indicators were extracted from electronic medical records of forty-two patients with COVID-19 (twenty-one of whom were treated with LMWH, and twenty-one without LMWH) hospitalized (Union Hospital of Huazhong University of Science and Technology) from February 1 to March 15, 2020. Changes in the percentage of lymphocytes before and after LMWH treatment were significantly different from those in the control group (p=0.011). Likewise, changes in the levels of D-dimer and fibrinogen degradation products (FDP) in the LMWH group before and after treatment were significantly different from those in the control group (p=0.035). Remarkably, IL-6 levels were significantly reduced after LMWH treatment (p=0.006), indicating that, besides other beneficial properties, LMWH may exert an anti-inflammatory effect and attenuate in part the 'cytokine storm' induced by the virus. Our results support the use of LMWH as a potential therapeutic drug for the treatment of COVID-19, paving the way for a subsequent well-controlled clinical study.

PMID:32881340 | DOI:10.1111/cts.12880

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