Anticoagulation, Mortality, Bleeding and Pathology Among Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19: A Single Health System Study

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020 Aug 24;S0735-1097(20)36408-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2020.08.041. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Thromboembolic disease is common in coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). There is limited evidence on association of in-hospital anticoagulation (AC) with outcomes and postmortem findings.

Objective: To examine association of AC with in-hospital outcomes and describe thromboembolic findings on autopsies.

Methods: A retrospective analysis examining association of AC with mortality, intubation and major bleeding. We also conducted sub-analyses on association of therapeutic vs prophylactic AC initiated ≤48 hours from admission. We describe thromboembolic disease contextualized by pre-mortem AC among consecutive autopsies.

Results: Among 4,389 patients, median age was 65 years with 44% female. Compared to no AC (n=1530, 34.9%), therapeutic (n=900, 20.5%) and prophylactic AC (n=1959, 44.6%) were associated with lower in-hospital mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]=0.53; 95%CI: 0.45-0.62, and aHR=0.50; 95%CI: 0.45-0.57, respectively), and intubation (aHR 0.69; 95%CI: 0.51-0.94, and aHR 0.72; 95% CI: 0.58-0.89, respectively). When initiated ≤48 hours from admission, there was no statistically significant difference between therapeutic (n=766) vs. prophylactic AC (n=1860) (aHR 0.86, 95%CI: 0.73-1.02; p=0.08). Overall, 89 patients (2%) had major bleeding adjudicated by clinician review, with 27/900 (3.0%) on therapeutic, 33/1959 (1.7%) on prophylactic, and 29/1,530 (1.9%) on no AC. Of 26 autopsies, 11 (42%) had thromboembolic disease not clinically suspected and 3/11 (27%) were on therapeutic AC.

Conclusions: AC was associated with lower mortality and intubation among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Compared to prophylactic AC, therapeutic AC was associated with lower mortality, though not statistically significant. Autopsies revealed frequent thromboembolic disease. These data may inform trials to determine optimal AC regimens.

Keywords: Anticoagulation; COVID-19; Intubation; Mortality.