Haemostasis in coronavirus disease 2019 - lesson from viscoelastic methods: a systematic review
Haemostatic unbalance is often observed in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and patients with severe disease are at high risk of developing thromboembolic complications. Viscoelastic methods (VEMs), including thrombelastography (TEG) and thromboelastometry (TEM), provide data on the nature of haemostatic disturbance. In this systematic review, we assessed the performance of TEG and TEM in the assessment of blood coagulation and fibrinolysis in patients with COVID-19. PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science Core Collection, medRxiv and bioRxiv were systematically searched for clinical studies evaluating TEG and/or TEM variables in COVID-19 individuals. Ten studies, with a total of 389 COVID-19 patients, were included, and VEMs were performed in 292 of these patients. Most patients (90%) presented severe COVID-19 and required mechanical ventilation. TEG and TEM variables showed that these patients displayed hypercoagulability and fibrinolysis shutdown, despite the use of appropriate thromboprophylaxis. However, the mechanism underlying these phenomena and their clinical significance in COVID-19 patients who developed thrombosis, is still not clear. Further studies are warranted if VEMs might help to identify those at highest risk of thrombotic events and who therefore may derive the greatest benefit from antithrombotic therapy.