Can a blood clotting protein be used as a predictor of mortality in patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line:

Patients with higher levels of the blood clotting protein, D-dimer, on admission showed greater incidences of mortality when compared to those with lower levels.


Zhang, L. et al. D‐dimer levels on admission to predict in‐hospital mortality in patients with Covid‐19. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (2020).

Date Published:

19 April 2020


With the rising number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, there is a pressing need for effective and early predictors of disease prognosis. D-dimer, a protein normally involved in blood clotting, has been suggested to be associated with poorer clinical outcomes at increased levels. In this particular study, D-dimer levels were evaluated in 343 Wuhan patients positive for COVID-19. In support of earlier findings, significantly higher amounts of D-dimer were observed in both non-survivors and critically ill patients. Elevated D-dimers could be a consequence of various factors. For instance, there may be an aggressive physiological response against the viral infection, leading to a heightened immune response. Another possibility is that a majority of severe cases occur with the elderly, who are generally prone to clotting from long-term bed rest and other underlying conditions. Taken together, measures of D-dimer may predict severity and mortality in patients with COVID-19.

Summary by: Edwin Wong