Venous Thrombosis in Airborne Viral Infections: Is Coronavirus Disease 2019 now Any Different from Influenza?

Semin Thromb Hemost. 2024 Feb 23. doi: 10.1055/s-0044-1780507. Online ahead of print.


One of the hallmarks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), particularly in complicated cases (i.e., requiring hospitalization or intensive care support), is persistent hemostasis activation, which may be associated with a vast array of thrombotic episodes involving both the arterial and venous systems. The renewed emphasis on the relationship between viral infections and venous thrombosis paves the way for determining whether a more common and often underestimated infection disease, such as influenza, may also be associated with a significant burden of venous thrombotic episodes, and how this eventual thrombotic risk compares to that seen in COVID-19, both in the past and with newer variants. Our review of studies comparing the burden of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with COVID-19 or influenza revealed that the thrombotic risk appears to be significantly higher in patients with COVID-19 but remains certainly not meaningless in those with influenza, particularly in subjects infected by highly virulent strains (i.e., H1N1), in those who develop pneumonia and require intensive care support. In these specific clinical settings, the adoption of tailored thromboprophylaxis may be indicated though more studies are compellingly needed on this matter. As COVID-19 variants emerge, there is a possibility that the VTE burden of COVID-19 will decrease, and progress to that of other respiratory viruses.