Screening for asymptomatic deep vein thrombosis in COVID-19 patients admitted to the medical ward: a cross-sectional study

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J Ultrasound. 2022 May 14. doi: 10.1007/s40477-022-00689-w. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Patients with COVID-19 have an increased risk for venous thrombo-embolism (VTE), especially pulmonary embolism. The exact prevalence of asymptomatic DVT is not known, as is the usefulness of screening for DVT in patients admitted to ward with COVID-19. We have studied the prevalence of asymptomatic DVT.

METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional observational multi-center study at four university medical centers in The Netherlands. All adult patients admitted with COVID-19 to a medical ward were eligible for inclusion, including patients who were transferred back from the ICU to the ward. The study protocol consisted of weekly cross-sectional rounds of compression ultrasound.

RESULTS: In total, 125 patients were included in the study. A significant proportion of patients (N = 34 (27%)) had developed a VTE during their admission for COVID-19 before the study ultrasound was performed. In most VTE cases (N = 27 (79%)) this concerned pulmonary embolism. A new asymptomatic DVT was found in 5 of 125 patients (4.0%; 95% CI 1.3-9.1%) (Table 2). Nine patients (7.2%; 95% CI 3.3-13.2%) developed a VTE (all PE) diagnosed within 28 days after the screening US was performed.

CONCLUSION: We have shown a low prevalence (4%) of newly discovered asymptomatic DVT outside the ICU-setting in COVID-19 patients. Despite this low prevalence, nine patients developed PE (7%) within 28 days after ultrasound. This favors the hypothesis of local thrombus formation in the lungs. Based on our findings and literature, we do not recommend US-screening of asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 admitted to the ward.

PMID:35567703 | DOI:10.1007/s40477-022-00689-w