Scand J Immunol. 2021 Nov;94(5):e13097. doi: 10.1111/sji.13097. Epub 2021 Sep 27.
COVID-19 is a global pandemic with a daily increasing number of affected individuals. Thrombosis is a severe complication of COVID-19 that leads to a worse clinical course with higher rates of mortality. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that hyperinflammation plays a crucial role in disease progression. This review compiles clinical data of COVID-19 patients who developed thrombotic complications to investigate the possible role of hyperinflammation in inducing hypercoagulation. A systematic literature search was performed using PubMed, Embase, Medline and Scopus to identify relevant clinical studies that investigated thrombotic manifestations and reported inflammatory and coagulation biomarkers in COVID-19 patients. Only 54 studies met our inclusion criteria, the majority of which demonstrated significantly elevated inflammatory markers. In the cohort studies with control, D-dimer was significantly higher in COVID-19 patients with thrombosis as compared to the control. Pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and strokes were frequently reported which could be attributed to the hyperinflammatory response associated with COVID-19 and/or to the direct viral activation of platelets and endothelial cells, two mechanisms that are discussed in this review. It is recommended that all admitted COVID-19 patients should be assessed for hypercoagulation. Furthermore, several studies have suggested that anticoagulation may be beneficial, especially in hospitalized non-ICU patients. Although vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have been approved and distributed in several countries, research should continue in the field of prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and its severe complications including thrombosis due to the emergence of new variants against which the efficacy of the vaccines is not yet clear.