Can a blood clotting protein be used as a predictor of mortality in patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line:

Patients with higher levels of the blood clotting protein, D-dimer, on admission showed greater incidences of mortality when compared to those with lower levels.

Reference:

Zhang, L. et al. D‐dimer levels on admission to predict in‐hospital mortality in patients with Covid‐19. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (2020). https://doi.org/10.1111/jth.14859

Date Published:

19 April 2020

Synopsis:

With the rising number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, there is a pressing need for effective and early predictors of disease prognosis. D-dimer, a protein normally involved in blood clotting, has been suggested to be associated with poorer clinical outcomes at increased levels. In this particular study, D-dimer levels were evaluated in 343 Wuhan patients positive for COVID-19. In support of earlier findings, significantly higher amounts of D-dimer were observed in both non-survivors and critically ill patients. Elevated D-dimers could be a consequence of various factors. For instance, there may be an aggressive physiological response against the viral infection, leading to a heightened immune response. Another possibility is that a majority of severe cases occur with the elderly, who are generally prone to clotting from long-term bed rest and other underlying conditions. Taken together, measures of D-dimer may predict severity and mortality in patients with COVID-19.

Summary by: Edwin Wong