Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Von Willebrand factor (vWF): marker of endothelial damage and thrombotic risk in COVID-19?

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 infection is characterised, among other features, by a prothrombotic state with high rate of venous thromboembolism (VTE), D-dimer, and fibrinogen levels. Clinical observations have also highlighted that these patients have elevated von Willebrand factor (vWF) and factor VIIIc.

METHODS: 24 consecutive COVID-19 positive patients were selected from the intensive care unit (ICU) or the high acuity ward of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.

RESULTS: The rate of VTE was 25% and mortality rate was 16.7%. Fibrinogen and D-Dimers were elevated, 7.9 (1.6) g/L and 2.4 (2.02) ug/ml respectively. Factor VIIIc and von vWF antigen levels were both extremely elevated at 279 (148) u/dL and 350 (131) % respectively, which are comparable to levels seen in ICU patients with severe sepsis. vWF levels were significantly higher in patients that died (p=0.017) and showed a positive correlation with age. There was a statistically significant association between COVID-19 disease and non-O blood group (p=0.02); 80% (4/5) of COVID-19 patients with VTE were blood group A.

CONCLUSION: Very high levels of vWF and factor VIIIc are common in COVID-19 patients, comparable to levels in severely septic non-COVID ICU patients. This could contribute to the hypercoagulable state and increased VTE rate in COVID-19. Further studies are needed to evaluate the use of vWF for stratifying thrombotic risk in COVID-19 and to determine if elevated vWF is contributing to disease pathogenesis.

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