Unfractionated Heparin in SARS-CoV-2 Pneumonia: Ischemic Stroke Case Report

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Thromboembolism is a known phenomenon in patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Recent investigations have revealed that a significant proportion of those hospitalized with severe COVID-19 demonstrate clinical and laboratory markers compatible with hypercoagulability, which is differentiated from disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), termed COVID-associated coagulopathy. Additionally, there is increasing concern for development of acute ischemic stroke because of this hypercoagulable state. We present a patient with COVID-19 pneumonia who was managed with unfractionated heparin (UFH) infusion and developed a large ischemic infarct shortly after cessation of the infusion. In retrospect, the patient’s coagulation parameters were consistent with overt DIC, although some of these parameters are easily masked by the effects of UFH. These findings emphasize the importance of anticoagulation as well as its careful discontinuation, as failure to do so may result in a significant thromboembolic event.

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