Incidence of symptomatic, image-confirmed venous thromboembolism following hospitalization for COVID-19 with 90-day follow-up

Blood Adv. 2020 Dec 22;4(24):6230-6239. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003349.


Although COVID-19 has been reported to be associated with high rates of venous thromboembolism (VTE), the risk of VTE and bleeding after hospitalization for COVID-19 remains unclear, and the optimal hospital VTE prevention strategy is not known. We collected retrospective observational data on thrombosis and bleeding in 303 consecutive adult patients admitted to the hospital for at least 24 hours for COVID-19. Patients presenting with VTE on admission were excluded. Data were collected until 90 days after admission or known death by using medical records and an established national VTE network. Maximal level of care was ward based in 78% of patients, with 22% requiring higher dependency care (12% noninvasive ventilation, 10% invasive ventilation). Almost all patients (97.0%) received standard thromboprophylaxis or were already receiving therapeutic anticoagulation (17.5%). Symptomatic image-confirmed VTE occurred in 5.9% of patients during index hospitalization, and in 7.2% at 90 days after admission (23.9% in patients requiring higher dependency care); half the events were isolated segmental or subsegmental defects on lung imaging. Bleeding occurred in 13 patients (4.3%) during index hospitalization (1.3% had major bleeding). The majority of bleeds occurred in patients on the general ward, and 6 patients were receiving treatment-dose anticoagulation, highlighting the need for caution in intensifying standard thromboprophylaxis strategies. Of 152 patients discharged from the hospital without an indication for anticoagulation, 97% did not receive thromboprophylaxis after discharge, and 3% received 7 days of treatment with low molecular weight heparin after discharge. The rate of symptomatic VTE in this group at 42 days after discharge was 2.6%, highlighting the need for large prospective randomized controlled trials of extended thromboprophylaxis after discharge in COVID-19.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Coagulation Tests
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Disease Management
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • Venous Thromboembolism / diagnosis
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control


  • Biomarkers