Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2-induced Acute Aortic Occlusion

A Case Report

Artem Minalyan; Franklin L. Thelmo; Vincent Chan; Stephanie Tzarnas; Faizan Ahmed


J Med Case Reports. 2021;15(112) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection can lead to a constellation of viral and immune symptoms called coronavirus disease 2019. Emerging literature increasingly supports the premise that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 promotes a prothrombotic milieu. However, to date there have been no reports of acute aortic occlusion, itself a rare phenomenon. We report a case of fatal acute aortic occlusion in a patient with coronavirus disease 2019.

Case Report: A 59-year-old Caucasian male with past medical history of peripheral vascular disease presented to the emergency department for evaluation of shortness of breath, fevers, and dry cough. His symptoms started 5–7 days prior to the emergency department visit, and he received antibiotics in the outpatient setting without any effect. He was found to be febrile, tachypneic, and hypoxemic. He was placed on supplemental oxygen via a non-rebreather mask. Chest X-ray showed multifocal opacifications. Intravenous antibiotics for possible pneumonia were initiated. Hydroxychloroquine was initiated to cover possible coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia. During the hospitalization, the patient became progressively hypoxemic, for which he was placed on bilevel positive airway pressure. D-dimer, ferritin, lactate dehydrogenase, and C-reactive protein were all elevated. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was positive. On day 3, the patient was upgraded to the intensive care unit. Soon after he was intubated, he developed a mottled appearance of skin, which extended from his bilateral feet up to the level of the subumbilical plane. Bedside ultrasound revealed an absence of flow from the mid-aorta to both common iliac arteries. The patient was evaluated emergently by vascular surgery. After a discussion with the family, it was decided to proceed with comfort-directed care, and the patient died later that day.

Discussion: Viral infections have been identified as a source of prothrombotic states due to direct injury of vascular tissue and inflammatory cascades. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 appears to follow a similar pattern, with numerous institutions identifying elevated levels of thrombotic complications. We believe that healthcare providers should be aware of both venous and arterial thrombotic complications associated with coronavirus disease 2019, including possible fatal outcome.