Objectives: Hypercoagulability may be a key mechanism for acute organ injury and death in patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019, but the relationship between elevated plasma levels of d-dimer, a biomarker of coagulation activation, and mortality has not been rigorously studied. We examined the independent association between d-dimer and death in critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019.
Design: Multicenter cohort study.
Setting: ICUs at 68 hospitals across the United States.
Patients: Critically ill adults with coronavirus disease 2019 admitted to ICUs between March 4, 2020, and May 25, 2020, with a measured d-dimer concentration on ICU day 1 or 2.
Measurements and main results: The primary exposure was the highest normalized d-dimer level (assessed in four categories: < 2×, 2-3.9×, 4-7.9×, and ≥ 8× the upper limit of normal) on ICU day 1 or 2. The primary endpoint was 28-day mortality. Multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for confounders. Among 3,418 patients (63.1% male; median age 62 yr [interquartile range, 52-71 yr]), 3,352 (93.6%) had a d-dimer concentration above the upper limit of normal. A total of 1,180 patients (34.5%) died within 28 days. Patients in the highest compared with lowest d-dimer category had a 3.11-fold higher odds of death (95% CI, 2.56-3.77) in univariate analyses, decreasing to a 1.81-fold increased odds of death (95% CI, 1.43-2.28) after multivariable adjustment for demographics, comorbidities, and illness severity. Further adjustment for therapeutic anticoagulation did not meaningfully attenuate this relationship (odds ratio, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.36-2.19).
Conclusions: In a large multicenter cohort study of critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019, higher d-dimer levels were independently associated with a greater risk of death.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04401293.
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