COVID-19: Thrombocytopenia Tied to Higher Risk of Severe Disease and Mortality

Sarfaroj Khan

March 23, 2020


In patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), thrombocytopenia is associated with an increased risk for severe disease and mortality.

Why this matters

Findings suggest that platelet count may be a simple, economic, rapid and commonly available laboratory parameter, which may help to distinguish between patients with COVID-19 with and without severe disease.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis included 9 studies (n=1779) after a search across electronic databases.

  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Of 1779 patients with COVID-19, 399 (22.4%) had severe disease.

  • Platelet count was significantly lower in patients with more severe COVID-19 (weighted mean difference [WMD], −31 [95% CI, −35 to −29] ×109/L; I2=92%).

  • In the subgroup analysis, a substantial drop in platelet count was observed with mortality (WMD, −48 [95% CI, −57 to −39] ×109/L; I2=91%).

  • In 4 studies (n=1427) that reported data on the rate of thrombocytopenia, a low platelet count was linked to a 5-fold higher risk for severe COVID-19 (OR, 5.13; 95% CI, 1.81-14.58).


  • Heterogeneity among studies.

  • Risk of bias.

Lippi G, Plebani M, Michael Henry B. Thrombocytopenia is associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections: A meta-analysis. Clin. Chim. Acta. 2020 Mar 13 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2020.03.022. PMID: 32178975. Abstract.

This clinical summary first appeared on Univadis from Medscape.


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