Pulmonary Embolism in Critically Ill COVID-19 And Non-COVID-19 Patients: Systematic Analysis of Risk Factors, Diagnostic and Management Strategies, and Prognosis.

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Boubaker Charra Yassine Bou-ouhrich


Background: Coronavirus disease of 2019 or COVID-19 is characterised by two main features: the first is the respiratory compromise which corresponds to acute respiratory distress syndrome while the second corresponds to the state of hypercoagulability responsible for thromboembolic complications particularly pulmonary embolism which is the subject of this work. Indeed, a high prevalence of pulmonary embolism has been reported throughout the pandemic period with a significant morbidity and mortality. This reflects the severity of this life-threatening emergency chiefly in the elderly, hemodynamically unstable patients, and patients with severe underlying conditions, mainly cardio-pulmonary comorbidities. The aim of our study is to point out the incidence, the risk factors, the clinical and paraclinical features, the management strategies, and the overall prognosis of pulmonary embolism in critically ill COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

Patients and methods: It is a retrospective observational study carried out over a two-year-period from January 2019 (non-COVID-19) to December 2020 (COVID-19). Over the study period, 42 cases of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 pulmonary embolism were collected from an overall set of 611 patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit of the IBN ROCHD university hospital of Casablanca.

Results: The mean age in the COVID-19 group was 64-year-old versus 46-year-old in the non-COVID-19 group. The sex ratio was 1.2 and 0.94 in the non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 group, respectively. Clinical symptomatology was dominated by respiratory failure and chest pain in non-COVID-19 patients while in the COVID-19 group, semiology was dominated by dyspnea, cough, and chest pain. The major sign of severity in both groups was tachypnea.

The chest X-ray was performed in all our patients, it displayed radiological abnormalities in all patients mainly hyper clarity in pulmonary fields. D-dimers were performed in all patients within the two study groups. A chest computed tomography angiogram was performed for all patients and showed unilateral pulmonary embolism in 61% of cases in the non-COVID-19 group versus 61.3% in the COVID-19 group. Cardiac ultrasound was performed for all patients. It showed dilatation of right cavities in both groups (81.8% in non-COVID-19 versus 93.5% in COVID-19 patients). Venous ultrasound of the lower limbs was performed in 96.8% of COVID-19 patients and in 72.7% of non-COVID-19 patients.

With regards to management, all COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients received anticoagulation therapy based on standard heparin and anti-vitamin K. Mortality accounted for 54.5% in non-COVID-19 patients versus 74.2% in COVID-19 patients.

Conclusion: COVID-19 pulmonary embolism is often associated with significantly higher morbidity and mortality as compared with non-COVID-19 pulmonary embolism.

Keywords: Pulmonary embolism, Intensive care unit, COVID-19, Risk factors, Mortality

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How to Cite
CHARRA, Boubaker; BOU-OUHRICH, Yassine. Pulmonary Embolism in Critically Ill COVID-19 And Non-COVID-19 Patients: Systematic Analysis of Risk Factors, Diagnostic and Management Strategies, and Prognosis.. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 4, apr. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/3759>. Date accessed: 29 may 2023. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v11i4.3759.
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