21 December 2020

Global guidelines have been issued to help clinicians to report clotting and bleeding events associated with COVID-19.

Experts say the guidelines will help standardise clinical trials and ensure researchers “speak the same language.”

Abnormal blood clotting is a known complication of COVID-19, particularly in hospitalised patients. However, the precise incidence of abnormal blood clotting in the disease remains unclear because of inconsistencies between clinical studies.

ASH president Dr Stephanie Lee said: "Researchers across various disciplines are conducting clinical trials in COVID-19, and because they are not attuned to collecting these data we are seeing ranges of incidences.

“Standardising how thrombosis is defined and measured across all COVID-19 trials will give us a more complete picture of the magnitude of risk - who is experiencing blood clots, what predisposes them to clotting - which could lead to the development of more targeted interventions and treatments."

The guidelines have been developed by the International Society of Haemostasis and Thrombosis (ISHT) together with a research group of the American Society of Hematology.

They should enable clinicians in a range of disciplines such as internal medicine, infectious disease, pulmonology, and emergency and critical care medicine to provide consistent reports, the groups say.

Dr Jeffrey Weitz, president of the ISHT, said: “We encourage investigators to use this toolkit, which will standardise data collection and allow for better comparison of findings across trials.”

Siegal DM, Barnes GD, Langlois NJ, Lee A, Middeldorp S, Skeith L, Wood WA, Le Gal G (2020) “A toolkit for the collection of thrombosis-related data elements in COVID-19 clinical studies”, Blood Advances, doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003269

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