The association between treatment with heparin and survival in patients with Covid-19

J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2020 Aug;50(2):298-301. doi: 10.1007/s11239-020-02162-z.


This study investigates the association between the treatment with heparin and mortality in patients admitted with Covid-19. Routinely recorded, clinical data, up to the 24th of April 2020, from the 2075 patients with Covid-19, admitted in 17 hospitals in Spain between the 1st of March and the 20th of April 2020 were used. The following variables were extracted for this study: age, gender, temperature, and saturation of oxygen on admission, treatment with heparin, hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, steroids, tocilizumab, a combination of lopinavir with ritonavir, and oseltamivir, together with data on mortality. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to investigate the associations. At the time of collecting the data, 301 patients had died, 1447 had been discharged home from the hospitals, 201 were still admitted, and 126 had been transferred to hospitals not included in the study. Median follow up time was 8 (IQR 5-12) days. Heparin had been used in 1734 patients. Heparin was associated with lower mortality when the model was adjusted for age and gender, with OR (95% CI) 0.55 (0.37-0.82) p = 0.003. This association remained significant when saturation of oxygen < 90%, and temperature > 37 °C were added to de model with OR 0.54 (0.36-0.82) p = 0.003, and also when all the other drugs were included as covariates OR 0.42 (0.26-0.66) p < 0.001. The association between heparin and lower mortality observed in this study can be acknowledged by clinicians in hospitals and in the community. Randomized controlled trials to assess the causal effects of heparin in different therapeutic regimes are required.

Keywords: Coronavirus infections; Covid-19; Heparin; Mortality; Pulmonary embolism; Thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Betacoronavirus / drug effects*
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects*
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / blood
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / virology
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Heparin / adverse effects
  • Heparin / therapeutic use*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spain
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Heparin