Objectives: To assess the role of thromboprophylaxis regimens on the occurrence of pulmonary embolism in coronavirus disease 2019 patients.
Design: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data on coronavirus disease 2019 patients, included between March 10, and April 30, 2020.
Setting: ICU of an University Hospital in Belgium.
Patients and interventions: Critically ill adult mechanically ventilated coronavirus disease 2019 patients were eligible if they underwent a CT pulmonary angiography, as part of the routine management in case of persistent hypoxemia or respiratory deterioration. The primary endpoint of this study was the occurrence of pulmonary embolism according to the use of standard thromboprophylaxis (i.e. subcutaneous enoxaparin 4,000 international units once daily) or high regimen thromboprophylaxis (i.e. subcutaneous enoxaparin 4,000 international units bid or therapeutic unfractioned heparin).
Measurements and main results: Of 49 mechanically ventilated coronavirus disease 2019, 40 underwent CT pulmonary angiography after a median of 7 days (4-8 d) since ICU admission and 12 days (9-16 d) days since the onset of symptoms. Thirteen patients (33%) were diagnosed of pulmonary embolism, which was bilateral in six patients and localized in the right lung in seven patients. D-dimers on the day of CT pulmonary angiography had a predictive accuracy of 0.90 (95% CIs: 0.78-1.00) for pulmonary embolism. The use of high-regimen thromboprophylaxis was associated with a lower occurrence of pulmonary embolism (2/18; 11%) than standard regimen (11/22, 50%-odds ratio 0.13 [0.02-0.69]; p = 0.02); this difference remained significant even after adjustment for confounders. Six patients with pulmonary embolism (46%) and 14 patients without pulmonary embolism (52%) died at ICU discharge (odds ratio 0.79 [0.24-3.26]; p = 0.99).
Conclusions: In this study, one third of coronavirus disease 2019 mechanically ventilated patients have a pulmonary embolism visible on CT pulmonary angiography. High regimen thromboprophylaxis may decrease the occurrence of such complication.