Background Pulmonary embolism is a severe condition prone to misdiagnosis given its nonspecific signs and symptoms. Previous studies on the pneumonia outbreak caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) showed a number of patients with elevated d-dimer, whether those patients combined with pulmonary embolism got our attention.
Methods Data on clinical manifestations, laboratory and radiological findings, treatment, and disease progression of 19 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia,who completed computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA) during hospitalization in the Central Hospital of Wuhan from January 2 to March 26, 2020, were reviewed.
Results Of the 19 suspected pulmonary embolism and subjected to CTPA patients, six were diagnosed with pulmonary embolism. The Wells’ score of the six patients with pulmonary embolism was 0–1, which suggested a low risk of pulmonary embolism. The median level of d-dimers collected at the day before or on the day of CTPA completion in the patients with pulmonary embolism was 18.36 (interquartile range [IQR]: 6.69–61.46) µg/mL, which was much higher than that in the patients without pulmonary embolism (median 9.47 [IQR: 4.22–28.02] µg/mL). Of the 6 patients diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, all patients received anticoagulant therapy, 5 of which survived and were discharged and 1 died.
Conclusion A potential causal relationship exists between COVID-19 infection and pulmonary embolism, but whether this phenomenon is common remains uncertain. The clinical manifestations of COVID-19 patients who developed pulmonary embolism are similar to those of patients with increased d-dimer alone, prompting a significant challenge on differential diagnoses.