Recognizing Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVES: Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia is an unexpected consequence of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic era. We reviewed the pathogenesis, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of this rare side effect. DATA SOURCES: Online search of published medical literature through PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar using the terms "COVID-19," "vaccine," "thrombosis" was performed. STUDY SELECTION: Articles were chosen for inclusion based on their relevance to coronavirus disease 2019, vaccine, and thrombosis. DATA SYNTHESIS: Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia manifests most often as unusual thromboses (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, splanchnic vein thrombosis) but sometimes also "usual" thromboses (arterial stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep-vein thrombosis), with oftentimes severe thrombocytopenia, that becomes clinically evident 5-30 days after adenovirus-vectored coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine administration. Most patients have disseminated intravascular coagulation. These features are the result of vaccine-triggered formation of anti-platelet factor 4 immunoglobulin G that activate platelets, clinically mimicking autoimmune heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Early recognition based on thrombosis (sometimes, hemorrhage), thrombocytopenia, and d-dimer elevation within the day 5-30 postvaccine "window" is important given treatment with high-dose IV immunoglobulin plus nonheparin anticoagulation. CONCLUSIONS: Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia is a serious complication of vaccination that is not feasible to anticipate or prevent. When the patient presents with sustained headache, neurologic symptoms/signs, abdominal pain, dyspnea, or limb pain/swelling beginning 5-30 days post vaccination, platelet count and d-dimer must be measured, and imaging for thrombosis performed. Confirmation of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia diagnosis should be ordered (platelet factor 4/polyanion enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; platelet factor 4-enhanced platelet activation testing) as treatment is initiated (nonheparin anticoagulation, IV immunoglobulin).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Iba, T; Levy, JH; Warkentin, TE

Published Date

  • January 1, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 1

Start / End Page

  • e80 - e86

PubMed ID

  • 34259661

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8670081

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1530-0293

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005211


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States