BACKGROUND: The incidence of pulmonary thromboembolism is high in SARS-CoV-2 patients admitted to the Intensive Care. Elevated biomarkers of coagulation (fibrinogen and D-dimer) and inflammation (c-reactive protein (CRP) and ferritin) are associated with poor outcome in SARS-CoV-2. Whether the time-course of fibrinogen, D-dimer, CRP and ferritin is associated with the occurrence of pulmonary thromboembolism in SARS-CoV-2 patients is unknown. We hypothesise that patients on mechanical ventilation with SARS-CoV-2 infection and clinical pulmonary thromboembolism have lower concentrations of fibrinogen and higher D-dimer, CRP, and ferritin concentrations over time compared to patients without a clinical pulmonary thromboembolism.

METHODS: In a prospective study, fibrinogen, D-dimer, CRP and ferritin were measured daily. Clinical suspected pulmonary thromboembolism was either confirmed or excluded based on computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) or by transthoracic ultrasound (TTU) (i.e., right-sided cardiac thrombus). In addition, patients who received therapy with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator were included when clinical instability in suspected pulmonary thromboembolism did not allow CTPA. Serial data were analysed using a mixed-effects linear regression model, and models were adjusted for known risk factors (age, sex, APACHE-II score, body mass index), biomarkers of coagulation and inflammation, and anticoagulants.

RESULTS: Thirty-one patients were considered to suffer from pulmonary thromboembolism ((positive CTPA (n = 27), TTU positive (n = 1), therapy with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (n = 3)), and eight patients with negative CTPA were included. After adjustment for known risk factors and anticoagulants, patients with, compared to those without, clinical pulmonary thromboembolism had lower average fibrinogen concentration of - 0.9 g/L (95% CI: - 1.6 - - 0.1) and lower average ferritin concentration of - 1045 μg/L (95% CI: - 1983 - - 106) over time. D-dimer and CRP average concentration did not significantly differ, 561 μg/L (- 6212-7334) and 27 mg/L (- 32-86) respectively. Ferritin lost statistical significance, both in sensitivity analysis and after adjustment for fibrinogen and D-dimer.

CONCLUSION: Lower average concentrations of fibrinogen over time were associated with the presence of clinical pulmonary thromboembolism in patients at the Intensive Care, whereas D-dimer, CRP and ferritin were not. Lower concentrations over time may indicate the consumption of fibrinogen related to thrombus formation in the pulmonary vessels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Number of pages12
JournalThrombosis Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021


  • C-reactive protein
  • COVID-19
  • Coagulation
  • D-dimer
  • Fibrinogen
  • Intensive care
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pulmonary thrombosis
  • SARS-CoV-2


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