Pharmacotherapy. 2020 Nov;40(11):1130-1151. doi: 10.1002/phar.2465. Epub 2020 Nov 3.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to a worldwide pandemic, and patients with the infection are referred to as having COVID-19. Although COVID-19 is commonly considered a respiratory disease, there is clearly a thrombotic potential that was not expected. The pathophysiology of the disease and subsequent coagulopathy produce an inflammatory, hypercoagulable, and hypofibrinolytic state. Several observational studies have demonstrated surprisingly high rates of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in both general ward and intensive care patients with COVID-19. Many of these observational studies demonstrate high rates of VTE despite patients being on standard, or even higher intensity, pharmacologic VTE prophylaxis. Fibrinolytic therapy has also been used in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Unfortunately, high quality randomized controlled trials are lacking. A literature search was performed to provide the most up-to-date information on the pathophysiology, coagulopathy, risk of VTE, and prevention and treatment of VTE in patients with COVID-19. These topics are reviewed in detail, along with practical issues of anticoagulant selection and duration. Although many international organizations have produced guidelines or consensus statements, they do not all cover the same issues regarding anticoagulant therapy for patients with COVID-19, and they do not all agree. These statements and the most recent literature are combined into a list of clinical considerations that clinicians can use for the prevention and treatment of VTE in patients with COVID-19.