Thrombotic Microangiopathy in a Patient With COVID-19 Infection and Metastatic Cholangiocarcinoma

Shruti Sharma, Sushma Pavuluri, Krishnan Srinivasan, Masood Ghouse


This is a case report of a 63-year-old African American female with a past medical history most significant for metastatic cholangiocarcinoma that presented for evaluation of persistent shortness of breath. Initial workup was remarkable for refractory anemia, moderate schistocytes on peripheral smear and lab work suggestive of a hemolytic anemia. Due to concern for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), she subsequently underwent several rounds of plasma exchange without significant improvement. Secondary to progressive renal failure, patient eventually had a renal biopsy with findings remarkable for thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). Simultaneously, patient was also diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. After a few weeks of supportive care, she was stable for discharge. Unfortunately, she did become dialysis dependent. Prior to hospital admission, she was being treated for metastatic cholangiocarcinoma and had received chemotherapy with gemcitabine. Her last chemotherapy session was approximately 3 weeks prior to her first hospitalization. Furthermore, although her hemolytic work did suggest TMA, it was not consistent with the diagnosis of TTP. She was transferred to a tertiary care center where hemolytic labs were trended, and supportive care was maximized. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to further investigate the pathophysiology of TMA in patients with active malignancies and COVID-19 infections. To our knowledge, this is the first case of TMA in a patient with both metastatic cholangiocarcinoma and COVID-19 infection.

J Hematol. 2021;10(2):83-88


COVID-19; Microangiopathic hemolytic anemia; Thrombotic microangiopathy; Cholangiocarcinoma; Gemcitabine; Complement activation

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