Management of spontaneous bleeding in covid-19 inpatients: Is embolization always needed?

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Background: critically ill patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection present a hypercoagulable condition. Anticoagulant therapy is currently recommended to reduce thrombotic risk, leading to potentially severe complications like spontaneous bleeding (SB). Percutaneous transcatheter arterial embolization (PTAE) can be life-saving in critical patients, in addition to medical therapy. We report a major COVID-19 Italian Research Hospital experience during the pandemic, with particular focus on indications and technique of embolization. Methods: We retrospectively included all subjects with SB and with a microbiologically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, over one year of pandemic, selecting two different groups: (a) patients treated with PTAE and medical therapy; (b) patients treated only with medical therapy. Computed tomography (CT) scan findings, clinical conditions, and biological findings were collected. Results: 21/1075 patients presented soft tissue SB with an incidence of 1.95%. 10/21 patients were treated with PTAE and medical therapy with a 30-days survival of 70%. Arterial blush, contrast late enhancement, and dimensions at CT scan were found discriminating for the embolization (p < 0.05). Conclusions: PTAE is an important tool in severely ill, bleeding COVID-19 patients. The decision for PTAE of COVID-19 patients must be carefully weighted with particular attention paid to the clinical and biological condition, hematoma location and volume.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4119
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Low-molecular-weight heparin
  • Percutaneous trans arterial embolization
  • Spontaneous bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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