J Infect. 2021 Jan 10:S0163-4453(21)00007-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2021.01.003. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence, characteristics, and risk factors of pulmonary embolism (PE) among patients hospitalized for COVID-19.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We performed a prospective observational study of a randomly selected cohort of consecutive patients hospitalized for COVID-19 infection between March 8, 2020 through April 25, 2020. All eligible patients underwent a computed tomography pulmonary angiography independently of their PE clinical suspicion and were pre-screened for a baseline elevated D-dimer level.
RESULTS: 119 patients were randomly selected from the 372 admitted to one tertiary hospital in Valencia (Spain) for COVID-19 infection during the period of study. Seventy-three patients fulfilled both the inclusion criteria and none of the exclusion criteria and were finally included in the study. Despite a high level of pharmacological thromboprophylaxis (89%), the incidence of PE was 35.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 29.6 to 41.6%), mostly with a peripheral location and low thrombotic load (Qanadli score 18.5%). Multivariate analysis showed that heart rate (Hazard Ratio [HR], 1.04), room-air oxygen saturation (spO2) (HR, 0.87), D-dimer (HR, 1.02), and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels (HR, 1.01) at the time of admission were independent predictors of incident PE during hospitalization. A risk score was constructed with these four variables showing a high predictive value of incident PE (AUC-ROC: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.80 to 0.93).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirmed a high incidence of PE in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Heart rate, spO2, D-dimer, and CRP levels at admission were associated with higher rates of PE during hospitalization.