Predictors and mortality risk of venous thromboembolism in patients with COVID-19: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies



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Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease


Introduction: Novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection resulting in COVID-19 disease is associated with widespread inflammation and a prothrombotic state, resulting in frequent venous thromboembolic (VTE) events. It is currently unknown whether anticoagulation is protective for VTE events. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review to identify predictors of VTE in COVID-19.

Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Google Scholar, and Ovid databases for relevant observational studies of VTE in COVID-19 disease. The effect size for predictors of VTE was calculated using a random-effects model and presented as forest plots. Heterogeneity among studies was expressed as Q statistics and I2. Bias was assessed using the Newcastle Ottawa Scale for all identified observational studies. Publication bias was assessed with funnel plot analysis.

Results: We identified 28 studies involving 6053 patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The overall pooled prevalence of VTE events was 20.7%. Male sex was associated with a higher risk of VTE events, whereas prior history of VTE, smoking, and cancer were not. VTE events were significantly higher in severely ill patients, mechanically ventilated patients, those requiring intensive care admission, and those with a low PaO2/FiO2 ratio (P/F ratio). Chronic comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease, heart failure, renal disease, and pulmonary disease, did not increase the risk of VTE events. Patients with VTE had higher leukocyte counts and higher levels of D-dimer, C-reactive protein, and procalcitonin. The occurrence of VTE was associated with increased length of stay but did not impact mortality. Therapeutic and prophylactic doses of anticoagulation were not protective against VTE.

Conclusion: VTE in COVID-19 is associated with male gender and severe disease but not with traditional risk factors for VTE. The occurrence of VTE does not appear to be mitigated by either prophylactic or therapeutic anticoagulation. The occurrence of VTE in this population is associated with an increased length of stay but does not appear to impact mortality.





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