Predictors of acute deep venous thrombosis in patients hospitalized for COVID-19

Sadjad Riyahi, Stefanie J. Hectors, Martin R. Prince, Elizabeth M. Sweeney, Elizabeth G. Lane, Ricky Honya, Daniel J. Margolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is associated with high mortality in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) but there remains uncertainty about the benefit of anti-coagulation prophylaxis and how to decide when ultrasound screening is indicated. We aimed to determine parameters predicting which COVID-19 patients are at risk of DVT and to assess the benefit of prophylactic anticoagulation. Adult hospitalized patients with positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) undergoing venous duplex ultrasound for DVT assessment (n=451) were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical and laboratory data within 72hours of ultrasound were collected. Using split sampling and a 10-fold cross-validation, a random forest model was developed to find the most important variables for predicting DVT. Different d-dimer cutoffs were examined for classification of DVT. We also compared the rate of DVT between the patients going and not going under thromboprophylaxis. DVT was found in 65 (14%) of 451 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction positive patients. The random forest model, trained and cross-validated on 2/3 of the original sample (n=301), had area under the receiver operating characteristic curve=0.91 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.85-0.97) for prediction of DVT in the test set (n=150), with sensitivity=93% (95%CI: 68%-99%) and specificity=82% (95%CI: 75%-88%). The following variables had the highest importance: d-dimer, thromboprophylaxis, systolic blood pressure, admission to ultrasound interval, and platelets. Thromboprophylaxis reduced DVT risk 4-fold from 26% to 6% (P<.001), while anti-coagulation therapy led to hemorrhagic complications in 14 (22%) of 65 patients with DVT including 2 fatal intracranial hemorrhages. D-dimer was the most important predictor with area under curve=0.79 (95%CI: 0.73-0.86) by itself, and a 5000ng/mL threshold at 7days postCOVID-19 symptom onset had 75% (95%CI: 53%-90%) sensitivity and 81% (95%CI: 72%- 88%) specificity. In comparison with d-dimer alone, the random forest model showed 68% versus 32% specificity at 95% sensitivity, and 44% versus 23% sensitivity at 95% specificity. D-dimer >5000ng/mL predicts DVT with high accuracy suggesting regular monitoring with d-dimer in the early stages of COVID- 19 may be useful. A random forest model improved the prediction of DVT. Thromboprophylaxis reduced DVT in COVID-19 patients and should be considered in all patients. Full anti-coagulation therapy has a risk of life-threatening hemorrhage.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27216
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number38
StatePublished - 24 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • D-dimer
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Random forest
  • Thromboprophylaxis
  • Venous thromboembolism


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