J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2020 Oct 8:S2213-333X(20)30543-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2020.09.010. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: The pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused devastating morbidity and mortality worldwide. In particular, thromboembolic complications have emerged as a key threat in COVID-19. We assessed our experience with deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in patients with COVID-19.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of all patients with COVID-19 undergoing upper or lower extremity venous duplex ultrasonography at an academic health system in New York City between March 3 2020 and April 12 2020 with follow-up through May 12 2020. A cohort of hospitalized patients without COVID-19 (non-COVID-19) undergoing venous duplex ultrasonography from December 1 2019 to December 31 2019 was used for comparison. The primary outcome was DVT. Secondary outcomes included pulmonary embolism (PE), in-hospital mortality, admission to intensive care unit, and antithrombotic therapy. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify risk factors for DVT and mortality.
RESULTS: Of 443 patients (188 COVID-19 and 255 non-COVID-19) undergoing venous duplex ultrasonography, patients with COVID-19 had higher incidence of DVT (31% vs. 19%; P=0.005), compared to the non-COVID-19 cohort. The incidence of PE was not statistically different between the COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cohorts (8% vs. 4%; P=.105). The DVTs in the COVID-19 group were more distal (63% vs. 29%; P<.001) and bilateral (15% vs. 4%; P<.001). The result of duplex ultrasonography had a significant impact on the antithrombotic plan; 42 (72%) patients with COVID-19 in the DVT group had their therapies escalated while 49 (38%) and 3 (2%) patients had their therapies escalated and de-escalated in the non-DVT group, respectively (P<.001). Within the COVID-19 cohort, the D-dimer was significantly higher in the DVT group at the time of admission (2,746 ng/mL vs 1,481 ng/mL; P=.004) and at the time of the duplex exam (6,068 ng/mL vs. 3,049 ng/mL; P<0.01). At multivariable analysis, male sex (odd ratio (OR) 2.27; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06-4.87; P=.035), ICU admission (OR 3.42; 95% CI, 1.02-11.44; P=.046) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (OR 5.5; 95% CI, 1.01-30.13; P=.049) were independently associated with DVT.
CONCLUSION: Given the high incidence of venous thromboembolic events in this population, we support the decision to empirically initiate therapeutic anticoagulation in patients with low bleeding risk and severe COVID-19 infection, with duplex ultrasonography reserved for patients with high clinical suspicion of VTE in which anticoagulation may pose a life-threatening consequence. Further study is warranted in patients with COVID-19 to elucidate the etiology of vascular thromboembolic events and guide prophylactic and therapeutic interventions in these patients.