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Continuation of therapeutic anticoagulation before and during hospitalization is associated with reduced mortality in COVID-19 ICU patients 

Journal of Lung, Pulmonary & Respiratory Research
Rachel L. Choron MD,1 Stephen Iacono MD,1 Karishma Maharaja MS,2 Christopher D. Adams PharmD BCPS BCCCP,2 Christopher A. Butts PhD DO FACOS,1 Christopher Bargoud MD,1 Amanda L. Teichman MD,1 Nicole J. Krumrei MD FACS,1 Mary E. Schroeder MD FACS,1,3 Michelle T. Bover Manderski PhD MPH,4 Michael B. Rodricks MD FNCS,1 Matthew Lissauer MD FACS FCCM,1 Rajan Gupta MD FACS MHCDS1

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Background: Literature has well established COVID-19 associated coagulopathy with resulting thrombotic complications including microthrombi as an underlying mechanism leading to severe respiratory disease. Therapeutic anticoagulation (TAC) for COVID-19 patients has therefore been widely trialed to combat COVID-19’s coagulopathic effects. However, literature has yet to define which population of patients TAC benefits; the most current randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reveal TAC to be possibly beneficial to moderately-ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients, whereas benefits did not outweigh risks in critically-ill ICU patients. Importantly, these studies excluded patients who received prehospital TAC. We examined outcomes in critically ill COVID-19 ICU patients who received TAC vs prophylactic anticoagulation (PAC) and specifically whether prehospital TAC effected outcomes. Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 132 COVID-19 ICU patients admitted MarchJune, 2020. Initial clinical practice provided PAC, as literature demonstrating COVID-19 associated coagulopathy and increased thromboembolic complications emerged, a TAC protocol was initiated. Results: 130 patients were included in the study, 95 of whom received TAC and 35 PAC. There was 50.8% overall mortality, with lower mortality in the TAC vs PAC group (46.3% vs 62.9%, p=0.094). There were few thromboembolic and hemorrhagic complications, with no significant difference between TAC and PAC patients. Of 24 patients anticoagulated prior to and during hospitalization, only 1 (4.2%) died, whereas the mortality was 60.6% among patients therapeutically anticoagulated during hospitalization only (p<0.001). Multivariable analysis revealed patients who received prehospital and in hospital TAC had a 92% lower risk of death (p=0.008) compared to in hospital only TAC and PAC patients. Conclusions: Overall, therapeutic anticoagulation did not result in mortality benefit to COVID-19 ICU patients compared to prophylactic anticoagulation. However, a subpopulation of patients who received TAC both prior to and during hospitalization had a 12-fold lower risk of death. This suggests a protective effect of TAC when it is continued before and during hospitalization. RCTs are needed to specifically examine this subset of COVID-19 patients.


COVID-19, critical care, anticoagulation, thromboembolism, mortality