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      Incidence and mortality due to thromboembolic events during the COVID-19 pandemic: Multi-sourced population-based health records cohort study

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          Evidence supports an excess of deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. We report the incidence and mortality of thrombo-embolic events (TE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.


          Multi-sourced nationwide cohort study of adults (age ≥18 years) admitted to hospital with TE and deaths from TE in England (hospital and community) between 1st February 2018 and 31st July 2020. Relative risks, adjusted for age, sex, atrial fibrillation, co-morbidities and time trend comparing before and during the COVID-19 pandemic were estimated using Poisson regression.


          Of 268,054 patients admitted with TE to 195 hospitals, 82,208 (30.6%) were admitted after 2nd March 2020 (first COVID-19 death in the UK). The incidence of TE hospitalised increased during the COVID-19 pandemic from 1090 to 1517 per 100,000 (absolute risk change 45.9% [95% CI 45.1–46.6%], adjusted relative risk [ARR] 1.43 [95% CI 1.41–1.44]) driven particularly by pulmonary embolism; 1.49, 95% CI 1.46–1.52. TE were more frequent among those with COVID-19; 1.9% vs. 1.6%, absolute risk change 21.7%, 95% CI 21.0–22.4%, ARR 1.20, 95% CI 1.18–1.22. There was an increase in the overall mortality from TE during the pandemic (617, 6.7% proportional increase compared with the historical baseline), with more TE deaths occurring in the community compared with the historical rate (44% vs. 33%).


          The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in the incidence of hospitalised TE. There were more deaths from TE in the community highlighting a number of mechanisms including the hypercoagulable state associated with COVID-19 infection and potential impact of delays in seeking help.

          Research in context

          Evidence before this study

          We searched PubMed on 16 November 2020 for articles that documented the incidence and mortality of thrombo-embolic events (TE) during the COVID-19 pandemic using the search terms “COVID-19” OR “Coronavirus*” OR “2019-nCOV” OR “SARS-CoV” AND (“Thromboembolism” OR “Venous Thromboembolism” OR “thromboembol*”) with no language or time restrictions. The majority of data on TE in COVID-19 pertains to hospitalised patients from retrospective cohort studies. One study found that TE in hospitalised patients was associated with an increased mortality rate (adjusted hazard ratio 1.82; 95% CI 1.54–2.15). A systematic review and meta-analysis of 35 studies in 9249 hospitalised patients calculated an overall pooled incidence of TE of 17.8% (95% CI: 9.9–27.4%), rising to 22.9% (95% CI: 14.5–32.4%) in patients admitted to intensive care (ICU). The most contemporary data are from a cohort of 1114 patients (715 outpatient, 399 hospitalised, 170 admitted to ICU). With robust COVID-19-specific therapies and widespread thromboprophylaxis the prevalence of venous TE in ICU patients was reported as 7% ( n = 12) when catheter-/device-related events were excluded, and among the outpatients there was no TE reported. No published studies have used nationwide data to investigate TE during the pandemic or the effect of the pandemic on outcomes of patients with TE but without Covid-19.

          Added value of this study

          This retrospective multi-sourced nationwide unlinked cohort study compares the overall incidence and mortality of TE prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found an increased incidence of TE despite only a small proportion having a diagnosis of COVID-19. This may highlight the lack of testing, particularly in the community during the initial phase of the pandemic, and the possibility of other factors contributing to TE risk, such as decreased daily activity mandated by home quarantine and alterations in medication concordance. Mortality from TE was higher in the community during the pandemic and this highlights that adverse societal effects of the pandemic, such as aversion to seeking medical assessment, may precipitate worse outcomes related to TE.

          Implications of all the available evidence

          Evidence suggests that COVID-19 produces a hypercoagulable state and thromboprophylaxis is recommended in hospitalised patients to prevent excess mortality from TE. Whether to anticoagulate non-hospitalised ambulatory patients with COVID-19 will be answered by ongoing trials. Clinicians should consider the risks posed by decreased daily activity and fear of medical contact, and provide appropriate advice to patients.

          Graphical abstract

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          Most cited references 36

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          Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study

          Summary Background Since December, 2019, Wuhan, China, has experienced an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients with COVID-19 have been reported but risk factors for mortality and a detailed clinical course of illness, including viral shedding, have not been well described. Methods In this retrospective, multicentre cohort study, we included all adult inpatients (≥18 years old) with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital (Wuhan, China) who had been discharged or had died by Jan 31, 2020. Demographic, clinical, treatment, and laboratory data, including serial samples for viral RNA detection, were extracted from electronic medical records and compared between survivors and non-survivors. We used univariable and multivariable logistic regression methods to explore the risk factors associated with in-hospital death. Findings 191 patients (135 from Jinyintan Hospital and 56 from Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital) were included in this study, of whom 137 were discharged and 54 died in hospital. 91 (48%) patients had a comorbidity, with hypertension being the most common (58 [30%] patients), followed by diabetes (36 [19%] patients) and coronary heart disease (15 [8%] patients). Multivariable regression showed increasing odds of in-hospital death associated with older age (odds ratio 1·10, 95% CI 1·03–1·17, per year increase; p=0·0043), higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score (5·65, 2·61–12·23; p<0·0001), and d-dimer greater than 1 μg/mL (18·42, 2·64–128·55; p=0·0033) on admission. Median duration of viral shedding was 20·0 days (IQR 17·0–24·0) in survivors, but SARS-CoV-2 was detectable until death in non-survivors. The longest observed duration of viral shedding in survivors was 37 days. Interpretation The potential risk factors of older age, high SOFA score, and d-dimer greater than 1 μg/mL could help clinicians to identify patients with poor prognosis at an early stage. Prolonged viral shedding provides the rationale for a strategy of isolation of infected patients and optimal antiviral interventions in the future. Funding Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences; National Science Grant for Distinguished Young Scholars; National Key Research and Development Program of China; The Beijing Science and Technology Project; and Major Projects of National Science and Technology on New Drug Creation and Development.
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            Abnormal coagulation parameters are associated with poor prognosis in patients with novel coronavirus pneumonia

            Abstract Background In the recent outbreak of novel coronavirus infection in Wuhan, China, significantly abnormal coagulation parameters in severe novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) cases were a concern. Objectives To describe the coagulation feature of patients with NCP. Methods Conventional coagulation results and outcomes of 183 consecutive patients with confirmed NCP in Tongji hospital were retrospectively analyzed. Results The overall mortality was 11.5%, the non‐survivors revealed significantly higher D‐dimer and fibrin degradation product (FDP) levels, longer prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time compared to survivors on admission (P < .05); 71.4% of non‐survivors and 0.6% survivors met the criteria of disseminated intravascular coagulation during their hospital stay. Conclusions The present study shows that abnormal coagulation results, especially markedly elevated D‐dimer and FDP are common in deaths with NCP.
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              Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in Covid-19

              Progressive respiratory failure is the primary cause of death in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. Despite widespread interest in the pathophysiology of the disease, relatively little is known about the associated morphologic and molecular changes in the peripheral lung of patients who die from Covid-19.

                Author and article information

                Thromb Res
                Thromb Res
                Thrombosis Research
                Elsevier Ltd.
                8 March 2021
                June 2021
                8 March 2021
                : 202
                : 17-23
                [a ]Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, University of Leeds, UK
                [b ]Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
                [c ]Department of Cardiology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK
                [d ]Division of Clinical and Translational Research, School of Dentistry, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
                [e ]Keele Cardiovascular Research Group, Centre for Prognosis Research, Institutes of Applied Clinical Science and Primary Care and Health Sciences, Keele University, UK
                [f ]National Institute of Cardiovascular Outcomes Research (NICOR), Barts Health NHS Trust, UK
                [g ]Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University College London, UK
                [h ]Department of Cardiology, Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author at: Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.
                © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.



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