Thrombosis risk associated with COVID-19 infection. A scoping review

Thromb Res. 2020 Aug;192:152-160. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2020.05.039. Epub 2020 May 27.


Background: Infection by the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been reportedly associated with a high risk of thrombotic complications. So far information is scarce and rapidly emerging.

Methods: We conducted a scoping review using a single engine search for studies assessing thrombosis and coagulopathy in COVID-19 patients. Additional studies were identified by secondary review and alert services.

Results: Studies reported the occurrence of venous thromboembolism and stroke in approximately 20% and 3% of patients, respectively. A higher frequency seems to be present in severely ill patients, in particular those admitted to intensive care units. The thrombotic risk is elevated despite the use of anticoagulant prophylaxis but optimal doses of anticoagulation are not yet defined. Although an increase of biomarkers such as D-dimer has been consistently reported in severely ill COVID-19, the optimal cut-off level and prognostic value are not known.

Discussion: A number of pressing issues were identified by this review, including defining the true incidence of VTE in COVID patients, developing algorithms to identify those susceptible to develop thrombotic complications and severe disease, determining the role of biomarkers and/or scoring systems to stratify patients' risk, designing adequate and feasible diagnostic protocols for PE, establishing the optimal thromboprophylaxis strategy, and developing uniform diagnostic and reporting criteria.

Keywords: Anticoagulation; COVID-19; Venous thromboembolism.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Betacoronavirus / drug effects
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Blood Coagulation* / drug effects
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thrombosis / blood
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / prevention & control
  • Venous Thrombosis / virology*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiviral Agents