BioScience Trends. 2022;16(4):307-311. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2022.01225)

Heparin therapy in COVID-19: Call for randomized controlled trials (RCTs)

Fang TT, Pan XY, Huang J, Chen J, Song SL, Zhan QL


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with increases in abnormal coagulation, and particularly D-dimer (D-D) levels. Heparin therapy has been recommended as pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis in patients hospitalized with COVID-19; however, data on its efficacy are lacking. The current study retrospectively analyzed changes in blood coagulation and the impact of heparin therapy. Medical records of 593 patients with confirmed COVID-19 were collected. On admission, elevated fibrinogen (Fg) levels were noted in with 42.2% (250/593) of patients, followed by increases in D-D (28.5%) and a prolonged prothrombin time (PT) (23.9%). Patients with severe/critical COVID-19 had a higher proportion of abnormal coagulation parameters than patients with mild/ ordinary COVID-19. Dynamic changes in coagulation parameters were plotted on timeline charts for 97 patients with COVID-19 after heparin treatment. These changes, when combined with Fg, PT, D-D, and other indicators, may provide a relatively comprehensive description of coagulation abnormalities. Heparin seems to be important in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 based on the current findings. The efficacy of heparin in the treatment of COVID-19 should be confirmed by randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as soon as possible.

KEYWORDS: coronavirus infection, COVID-19, blood coagulation, heparin, fibrin degradation products

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