Hematological Abnormalities in COVID-19: A Narrative Review

American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume 104 (2021): Issue 4 (Apr 2021)


Review Article
Open access
Hematological Abnormalities in COVID-19: A Narrative Review
Asma Rahman, Roshan Niloofa, Umesh Jayarajah, Sanjay De Mel, Visula Abeysuriya, and Suranjith L. Seneviratne
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.20-1536
COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2. Although pulmonary manifestations have been identified as the major symptoms, several hematological abnormalities have also been identified. This review summarizes the reported hematological abnormalities (changes in platelet, white blood cell, and hemoglobin, and coagulation/fibrinolytic alterations), explores their patho-mechanisms, and discusses its management. Common hematological abnormalities in COVID-19 are lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated D-dimer levels. These alterations are significantly more common/prominent in patients with severe COVID-19 disease, and thus may serve as a possible biomarker for those needing hospitalization and intensive care unit care. Close attention needs to be paid to coagulation abnormalities, and steps should be taken to prevent these occurring or to mitigate their harmful effects. The effect of COVID-19 in patients with hematological abnormalities and recognized hematological drug toxicities of therapies for COVID-19 are also outlined.