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Author Notes:

Rupak Desai, Email: rdesa30@emory.edu; drrupakdesai@gmail.com

Conception and design: Rupak Desai, Sandeep Singh, Zainab Gandhi; literature search: Sonali Sachdeva, Rupak Desai, Sandeep Singh; first draft: Rupak Desai, Sandeep Singh, Sonali Sachdeva, Zainab Gandhi; critical revision and editing: all authors; final approval: all authors.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.



  • COVID-19
  • Infectious disease
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • SARS-CoV-2

Prevalence of Pulmonary Embolism in COVID-19: a Pooled Analysis.


Journal Title:

SN Compr Clin Med


Volume 2, Number 12


, Pages 2722-2725

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


There remains a high risk of thrombosis in patients affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and recent reports have shown pulmonary embolism (PE) as a cause of sudden death in these patients. However, the pooled rate of this deadly and frequently underdiagnosed condition among COVID-19 patients remains largely unknown. Given the frequency with which pulmonary embolism has been reported as a fatal complication of severe coronavirus disease, we sought to ascertain the actual prevalence of this event in COVID-19 patients. Using PubMed/Medline, EMBASE, and SCOPUS, a thorough literature search was performed to identify the studies reporting rate of PE among COVID-19. Random effects models were obtained to perform a meta-analysis, and I 2 statistics were used to measure inter-study heterogeneity. Among 3066 COVID-19 patients included from 9 studies, the pooled prevalence of PE was 15.8% (95% CI (6.0-28.8%), I 2 = 98%). The pooled rate in younger cohort (age < 65 years) showed a higher prevalence of 20.5% (95% CI (17.6-24.8%)) as compared to studies including relatively older cohort (age > 65 years) showing 14.3% (95% CI (2.9-30.1%)) (p < 0.05). Single-center studies showed a prevalence of 12.9% (95% CI 1.0-30.2%), while that of multicenter studies was 19.5% (95% CI 14.9-25.2%) (p < 0.05). Pulmonary embolism is a common complication of severe coronavirus disease and a high degree of clinical suspicion for its diagnosis should be maintained in critically ill patients.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

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