Coagulation Abnormalities and Thrombosis in Patients Infected With SARS-CoV-2 and Other Pandemic Viruses

Originally published 13 Jul 2020 | Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology

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The world is amid a pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2. Severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus causes serious respiratory tract infections that can lead to viral pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and death. Some patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have an activated coagulation system characterized by elevated plasma levels of d-dimer—a biomarker of fibrin degradation. Importantly, high levels of D-dimer on hospital admission are associated with increased risk of mortality. Venous thromboembolism is more common than arterial thromboembolism in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Pulmonary thrombosis and microvascular thrombosis are observed in autopsy studies, and this may contribute to the severe hypoxia observed in COVID-19 patients. It is likely that multiple systems contribute to thrombosis in COVID-19 patients, such as activation of coagulation, platelet activation, hypofibrinolysis, endothelial cell dysfunction, inflammation, neutrophil extracellular traps, and complement. Targeting these different pathways may reduce thrombosis and improve lung function in COVID-19 patients.

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