Thromboprophylaxis in Patients With COVID-19: A Brief Update to the CHEST Guideline and Expert Panel Report

Chest. 2022 Jul;162(1):213-225. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2022.02.006. Epub 2022 Feb 12.


Background: Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 often exhibit markers of a hypercoagulable state and have an increased incidence of VTE. In response, CHEST issued rapid clinical guidance regarding prevention of VTE. Over the past 18 months the quality of the evidence has improved. We thus sought to incorporate this evidence and update our recommendations as necessary.

Study design and methods: This update focuses on the optimal approach to thromboprophylaxis in hospitalized patients. The original questions were used to guide the search, using MEDLINE via PubMed. Eight randomized controlled trials and one observational study were included. Meta-analysis, using a random effects model, was performed. The panel created summaries using the GRADE Evidence-to-Decision framework. Updated guidance statements were drafted, and a modified Delphi approach was used to obtain consensus.

Results: We provide separate guidance statements for VTE prevention for hospitalized patients with acute (moderate) illness and critically ill patients in the ICU. However, we divided each original question and resulting recommendation into two questions: standard prophylaxis vs therapeutic (or escalated dose) prophylaxis and standard prophylaxis vs intermediate dose prophylaxis. This led to a change in one recommendation, and an upgrading of three additional recommendations based upon higher quality evidence.

Conclusions: Advances in care for patients with COVID-19 have improved overall outcomes. Despite this, rates of VTE in these patients remain elevated. Critically ill patients should receive standard thromboprophylaxis for VTE, and moderately ill patients with a low bleeding risk might benefit from therapeutic heparin. We see no role for intermediate dose thromboprophylaxis in either setting.

Keywords: COVID-19; DIC; DVT; VTE; hypercoagulability; pulmonary embolism.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19*
  • Critical Illness
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / etiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / prevention & control


  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin