Reducing Death Risk of COVID-19 With Preventative Blood Thinning Therapy

The study used electronic health record data and took account of a range of potentially influential factors.

A recent study published in the journal The BMJ has shown that patients who were given prophylactic anticoagulants within a 24-hour period of a hospital admission with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were less likely to die In comparison to those who did not receive them. The research was conducted by investigators from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Because some deaths due to COVID-19 are caused by blood clots that developed in major veins and arteries, investigators believed that giving patients preventative blood thinning therapies could help to prevent those clots from forming, while also providing some antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects.

The investigators analyzed data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs of 4,297 patients who had an average age of 68 and were admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 between March and July of 2020. They estimated the effects of the anticoagulants, which were given shortly after admission, on severe bleeding and the risk of death.

Findings from the study showed that the rate of death after 30 days for those who received the therapy was 14.3% compared to 18.7% for those who did not receive it. They observed a reduction in relative risk as high as 34% and a reduction in absolute risk of 4.4%. They also found that the blood thinners did not lead to a risk of serious bleeding.

Additionally, the greatest benefit appeared to be among the patients who were not admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) within 24 hours of being admitted to the hospital. Upon further analysis, they saw that the findings were unchanged, suggesting a strong withstanding of scrutiny.

Although the investigators behind the study acknowledged limitations due to the observational nature of the study, they stated that their findings "provide strong real-world evidence to support guidelines recommending the use of prophylactic anticoagulation as initial treatment for patients with covid-19 on hospital admission."