WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The overall prevalence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with COVID-19 is estimated to be 14.1 percent, with a higher prevalence for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), according to a review published online Sep. 25 in Research and Practice in Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Stephan Nopp, M.D., from the Medical University of Vienna, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature search to estimate the prevalence of VTE in patients with COVID-19. Data were identified from 86 studies with 33,970 patients; 66 studies with 28,173 patients were included in a quantitative analysis.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence estimate for VTE was 14.1 percent; the prevalence estimate was 40.3 percent with ultrasound screening and 9.5 percent without screening. High heterogeneity was seen in a subgroup analysis, with a VTE prevalence of 7.9 and 22.7 percent in non-ICU and ICU patients, respectively. The prevalence of pulmonary embolism was 3.5 and 13.7 percent in non-ICU and ICU patients, respectively. Higher D-dimer levels were seen in patients developing VTE versus non-VTE patients (weighted mean difference, 3.26 µg/mL).

“There is a clinical need for further research to better understand the risk and prevent VTE in patients with COVID-19,” the authors write. “These findings support the broad use of thromboprophylaxis, specifically in ICU patients.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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