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OBJECTIVES: The development of thrombocytopenia and thrombosis after the administration of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines has been recently described. This new condition has been called vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia. The objective of this review is to summarize the clinical characteristics and therapeutic options of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia based on available published case series. Furthermore, we provide a comparison of the diagnostic pathway and treatment recommendations provided by six major medical societies.

DATA SOURCES: We searched MEDLINE, PubMed, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases.

STUDY SELECTION: We included case series and case reports on patients who developed vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia. We also included guidelines for the diagnosis and management of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia from major medical societies.

DATA EXTRACTION: We examined baseline risk factors, symptoms, physical signs, laboratory and imaging findings, and treatment in patients with vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia reported in the case series. We also analyzed the diagnostic and treatment recommendations provided by major societal guidelines on the management of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Patients who developed vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia were more likely to be young women (age 20-50) who were given the AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen 4-28 days prior to presentation. Patients showed signs, symptoms, and imaging findings consistent with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and splanchnic thrombosis. Laboratory findings showed thrombocytopenia, low fibrinogen, and elevate D-dimer levels, while positive platelet factor 4 antibodies were always positive. Major societal guidelines recommend avoidance of heparin and platelets. Treatment with nonheparin anticoagulants and IV immunoglobulin is also recommended.

CONCLUSIONS: Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia is a rare but highly morbid complication related to the administration of the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines. Clinicians should be prepared for the early identification of patients with suspicious symptoms and prompt treatment should be initiated to avoid catastrophic deterioration. Major societal guidelines provide useful recommendations for the diagnosis and management of patients with vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia.

Copyright (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the Society of Critical Care Medicine