Objective: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection may yield a hypercoagulable state with fibrinolysis impairment. We conducted a single-center observational study with the aim of analyzing the coagulation patterns of intensive care unit (ICU) COVID-19 patients with both standard laboratory and viscoelastic tests. The presence of coagulopathy at the onset of the infection and after seven days of systemic anticoagulant therapy was investigated.
Patients and methods: Forty consecutive SARS-CoV-2 patients, admitted to the ICU of a University hospital in Italy between 29th February and 30th March 2020 were enrolled in the study, providing they fulfilled the acute respiratory distress syndrome criteria. They received full-dose anticoagulation, including Enoxaparin 0.5 mg·kg-1 subcutaneously twice a day, unfractionated Heparin 7500 units subcutaneously three times daily, or low-intensity Heparin infusion. Thromboelastographic (TEG) and laboratory parameters were measured at admission and after seven days.
Results: At baseline, patients showed elevated fibrinogen activity [rTEG-Ang 80.5° (78.7 to 81.5); TEG-ACT 78.5 sec (69.2 to 87.9)] and an increase in the maximum amplitude of clot strength [FF-MA 42.2 mm (30.9 to 49.2)]. No alterations in time of the enzymatic phase of coagulation [CKH-K and CKH-R, 1.1 min (0.85 to 1.3) and 6.6 min (5.2 to 7.5), respectively] were observed. Absent lysis of the clot at 30 minutes (LY30) was observed in all the studied population. Standard coagulation parameters were within the physiological range: [INR 1.09 (1.01 to 1.20), aPTT 34.5 sec (29.7 to 42.2), antithrombin 97.5% (89.5 to 115)]. However, plasma fibrinogen [512.5 mg·dl-1 (303.5 to 605)], and D-dimer levels [1752.5 ng·ml-1 (698.5 to 4434.5)], were persistently increased above the reference range. After seven days of full-dose anticoagulation, average TEG parameters were not different from baseline (rTEG-Ang p = 0.13, TEG-ACT p = 0.58, FF-MA p = 0.24, CK-R p = 0.19, CKH-R p = 0.35), and a persistent increase in white blood cell count, platelet count and D-dimer was observed (white blood cell count p < 0.01, neutrophil count p = 0.02, lymphocyte count p < 0.01, platelet count p = 0.13 < 0.01, D-dimer levels p= 0.02).
Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome show elevated fibrinogen activity, high D-dimer levels and maximum amplitude of clot strength. Platelet count, fibrinogen, and standard coagulation tests do not indicate a disseminated intravascular coagulation. At seven days, thromboelastographic abnormalities persist despite full-dose anticoagulation.
- blood coagulation
- respiratory insufficiency