Background Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with provoked thrombo-inflammatory responses. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic this was thought to contribute to hypercoagulability and multi-organ system complications in infected patients. Limited studies have evaluated the impact of therapeutic anti-coagulation therapy (AC) in alleviating these risks in COVID-19 positive patients. Our study aimed to investigate whether long-term therapeutic AC can decrease the risk of multi-organ system complications (MOSC) including stroke, limb ischemia, gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, in-hospital and intensive care unit death in COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized during the early phase of the pandemic in the United States. Methods A retrospective analysis was conducted of all COVID-19 positive United States Veterans between March 2020 and October 2020. Patients receiving continuous outpatient therapeutic AC for a least 90 days prior to their initial COVID-19 positive test were assigned to the AC group. Patients who did not receive AC were included in a control group. We analyzed the primary study outcome of MOSC between the AC and control groups using binary logistic regression analysis (Odd-Ratio; OR). Results We identified 48,066 COVID-19 patients, of them 879 (1.8%) were receiving continuous therapeutic AC. The AC cohort had significantly worse comorbidities than the control group. On the adjusted binary logistic regression model, therapeutic AC significantly decreased in-hospital mortality rate (OR; 0.67, p = 0.04), despite a higher incidence of GI bleeding (OR; 4.00, p = 0.02). However, therapeutic AC did not significantly reduce other adverse events. Conclusion AC therapy reduced in-hospital death early in the COVID-19 pandemic among patients who were hospitalized with the infection. However, it did not decrease the risk of MOSC. Additional trials are needed to determine the effectiveness of AC in preventing complications associated with ongoing emerging strains of the COVID-19 virus.
- Anti-coagulation therapy
- In-hospital death
- Intensive care unit death
- Multi-organ system complications