Coronavirus Disease 2019-Associated Thrombotic Microangiopathy

Marija Malgaj Vrecko, Zeljka Veceric-Haler


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread tremendously since its first appearance in December 2019. Infected individuals can experience a wide range of systemic complications, including thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). Like the other forms of TMA, COVID-19-associated TMA is characterized by thrombocytopenia, hemolytic anemia, and organ failure (such as acute kidney injury). The role of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in COVID-19-associated TMA is most probably dual: it can act either as a trigger to an underlying condition or as a cause of TMA. As opposed to the majority of other reported cases, it may be that in our case COVID-19 was the only cause of TMA. We present a case of a 32-year-old previously healthy man who was treated for acute kidney injury associated with TMA, which we believe was caused by COVID-19. Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, as well as other possible known causes of typical and atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome, was excluded. During his hospitalization, three negative nasopharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 were obtained, but serological tests showed the presence of IgG and IgA antibodies. After initial treatment known to be helpful in other forms of TMA (therapeutic plasma exchange and methylprednisolone), his renal function and platelet count recovered completely. Our case illustrates the importance of quickly recognizing this life-threatening complication of COVID-19 and using treatment that has been shown to be beneficial in other forms of TMA. Future studies of the pathophysiology and subsequent targeted treatment of this novel disease are needed.

J Hematol. 2022;11(4):148-153


Thrombotic microangiopathy; COVID-19; Acute kidney injury

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