The clinicopathological features of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome following ChAdOx1-S (AZD1222) vaccination and case outcomes in Australia: a population-based study

Lancet Reg Health West Pac. 2023 Sep 4:40:100894. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2023.100894. eCollection 2023 Nov.


Background: Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) associated with viral vector COVID-19 vaccines, including ChAdOx1-S (AstraZeneca AZD1222) vaccine, can result in significant morbidity and mortality. We report the clinicopathological features of TTS following ChAdOx1-S vaccination and summarise the case outcomes in Australia.

Methods: In this cohort study, patients diagnosed with TTS in Australia between 23 March and 31 December 2021 were identified according to predefined criteria. Cases were included if they met the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) probable and confirmed case definitions and were reclassified using Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition for analysis. Data were collected on patient baseline characteristics, clinicopathological features, risk factors, treatment and outcomes.

Findings: A total of 170 TTS cases were identified, with most occurring after the first dose (87%) of ChAdOx1-S. The median time to symptom onset after vaccination and symptom onset to admission was 11 and 2 days respectively. The median age of cases was 66 years (interquartile range 55-74). All except two patients received therapeutic anticoagulation and 66% received intravenous immunoglobulin. Overall, 85.3% of cases were discharged home after a median hospitalisation of 6 days, 9.4% required ongoing rehabilitation and 5.3% died. Eight deaths were related to TTS, with another dying from an unrelated condition while receiving treatment for TTS. Deaths occurred more commonly in those classified as Tier 1 according to the CDC definition and were associated with more severe thrombocytopenia and disease-related haemorrhage.

Interpretation: TTS, while rare, can be severe and have catastrophic outcomes in some individuals. In Australia, the mortality rate was low compared to that reported in other high-income countries. Almost all received therapeutic anticoagulation with no bleeding complications and were successfully discharged. This emphasises the importance of community education and an established pathway for early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of TTS.

Funding: Australian Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care. H.A Tran, N. Wood, J. Buttery, N.W. Crawford, S.D. Chunilal, V.M. Chen are supported by Medical Research Future Funds (MRFF) grant ID 2015305.

Keywords: Adverse events; COVID-19; Thrombocytopenia; Thrombosis; Vaccination.