COVID-19-associated thrombocytopenia

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Shakiba Hassanzadeh, MD[2]

Synonyms and keywords: Decrease in platelet count in COVID 19, effects of thrombocytopenia in COVID 19, thrombocytopenia complications of COVID 19


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which caused a respiratory illness outbreak that was first detected in Wuhan, China. Thrombocytopenia in COVID-19 infection is more common in patients with severe infection and it has been reported that thrombocytopenia upon admission for COVID-19 infection is associated with poor outcome and mortality. Thrombocytopenia is defined by platelet count <150 x <math>10^9</math>/L on complete blood count (CBC). The pathogenesis of thrombocytopenia in COVID-19 infection is due to several factors such as: infection of bone marrow, cytokine storm caused by the COVID-19 infection, increase in autoantibodies and immune complexes, lung injury which causes megakaryocyte fragmentation, and decrease in platelets which may be due to the activation of platelets that result in platelet aggregation.

Historical Perspective



The pathogenesis of thrombocytopenia in COVID-19 infection is due to several factors:[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Summary of the mechanisms involved in thrombocytopenia in COVID-19 infection:[5]


Differentiating Thrombocytopenia from other Diseases

For detailed differential diagnosis of thrombocytopenia click here

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications, and Prognosis

Natural History




Diagnostic Study of Choice

History and Symptoms

  • The median platelet count in COVID-19 patients with thrombocytopenia is 137,500 and 172,000 x <math>10^9</math>/L in severe and non-severe infection, respectively.[12]
  • In general, in thrombocytopenic patients, most patients are asymptomatic if the platelet count is 50,000 x <math>10^9</math>/L or greater.[4]

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings



Echocardiography or Ultrasound

CT scan


Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy

The treatment options for thrombocytopenia in COVID-19 infection include:[19]


Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention


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  2. Lu, Jian; Cui, Jie; Qian, Zhaohui; Wang, Yirong; Zhang, Hong; Duan, Yuange; Wu, Xinkai; Yao, Xinmin; Song, Yuhe; Li, Xiang; Wu, Changcheng; Tang, Xiaolu (2020). "On the origin and continuing evolution of SARS-CoV-2". National Science Review. doi:10.1093/nsr/nwaa036. ISSN 2095-5138.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Greenberg EM (2017). "Thrombocytopenia: A Destruction of Platelets". J Infus Nurs. 40 (1): 41–50. doi:10.1097/NAN.0000000000000204. PMID 28030481.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Gauer RL, Braun MM (2012). "Thrombocytopenia". Am Fam Physician. 85 (6): 612–22. PMID 22534274.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Xu P, Zhou Q, Xu J (2020). "Mechanism of thrombocytopenia in COVID-19 patients". Ann Hematol. 99 (6): 1205–1208. doi:10.1007/s00277-020-04019-0. PMC 7156897 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32296910 Check |pmid= value (help).
  6. Yang M, Ng MH, Li CK (2005). "Thrombocytopenia in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (review)". Hematology. 10 (2): 101–5. doi:10.1080/10245330400026170. PMID 16019455.
  7. Yeager CL, Ashmun RA, Williams RK, Cardellichio CB, Shapiro LH, Look AT; et al. (1992). "Human aminopeptidase N is a receptor for human coronavirus 229E". Nature. 357 (6377): 420–2. doi:10.1038/357420a0. PMC 7095410 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 1350662.
  8. Nardi M, Tomlinson S, Greco MA, Karpatkin S (2001). "Complement-independent, peroxide-induced antibody lysis of platelets in HIV-1-related immune thrombocytopenia". Cell. 106 (5): 551–61. doi:10.1016/s0092-8674(01)00477-9. PMID 11551503.
  9. Lefrançais E, Ortiz-Muñoz G, Caudrillier A, Mallavia B, Liu F, Sayah DM; et al. (2017). "The lung is a site of platelet biogenesis and a reservoir for haematopoietic progenitors". Nature. 544 (7648): 105–109. doi:10.1038/nature21706. PMC 5663284. PMID 28329764.
  10. Liu X, Zhang R, He G (2020). "Hematological findings in coronavirus disease 2019: indications of progression of disease". Ann Hematol. doi:10.1007/s00277-020-04103-5. PMC 7266734 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32495027 Check |pmid= value (help).
  11. Lee EJ, Lee AI (2016). "Thrombocytopenia". Prim Care. 43 (4): 543–557. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2016.07.008. PMID 27866576.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 Guan WJ, Ni ZY, Hu Y, Liang WH, Ou CQ, He JX; et al. (2020). "Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China". N Engl J Med. 382 (18): 1708–1720. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2002032. PMC 7092819 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32109013 Check |pmid= value (help).
  13. 13.0 13.1 Maquet J, Lafaurie M, Sommet A, Moulis G, Covid-Clinic-Toul investigators group. Alvarez M; et al. (2020). "Thrombocytopenia is independently associated with poor outcome in patients hospitalized for COVID-19". Br J Haematol. doi:10.1111/bjh.16950. PMID 32557535 Check |pmid= value (help).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Zhang Y, Zeng X, Jiao Y, Li Z, Liu Q, Ye J; et al. (2020). "Mechanisms involved in the development of thrombocytopenia in patients with COVID-19". Thromb Res. 193: 110–115. doi:10.1016/j.thromres.2020.06.008. PMC 7274097 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32535232 Check |pmid= value (help).
  15. Lippi G, Plebani M, Henry BM (2020). "Thrombocytopenia is associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections: A meta-analysis". Clin Chim Acta. 506: 145–148. doi:10.1016/j.cca.2020.03.022. PMC 7102663 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32178975 Check |pmid= value (help).
  16. Ghoshal K, Bhattacharyya M (2014). "Overview of platelet physiology: its hemostatic and nonhemostatic role in disease pathogenesis". ScientificWorldJournal. 2014: 781857. doi:10.1155/2014/781857. PMC 3960550. PMID 24729754.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Stasi R (2012). "How to approach thrombocytopenia". Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2012: 191–7. doi:10.1182/asheducation-2012.1.191. PMID 23233580.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Sekhon SS, Roy V (2006). "Thrombocytopenia in adults: A practical approach to evaluation and management". South Med J. 99 (5): 491–8, quiz 499-500, 533. doi:10.1097/01.smj.0000209275.75045.d4. PMID 16711312.
  19. Lorenzo-Villalba N, Zulfiqar AA, Auburtin M, Schuhmacher MH, Meyer A, Maouche Y; et al. (2020). "Thrombocytopenia in the Course of COVID-19 Infection". Eur J Case Rep Intern Med. 7 (6): 001702. doi:10.12890/2020_001702. PMC 7279909 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32523922 Check |pmid= value (help).

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