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Venous thromboembolism after COVID-19 infection among people with and without immune-mediated inflammatory diseases


Importance — Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) and COVID-19 are independently associated with venous thromboembolisms (VTEs).

Objective — To determine if individuals with IMIDs are at higher risk of VTE following COVID-19 infection compared with individuals without IMIDs.

Design, Setting, and Participants — Population-based matched cohort study using multiple deterministically linked health administrative databases from Ontario, Canada, and including patients testing positive for COVID-19 between January 1, 2020, and December 30, 2021, and followed up until March 31, 2022. Individuals with IMIDs (n = 28 440) who tested positive for COVID-19 were matched with up to 5 individuals without an IMID (n = 126 437) who tested positive for COVID-19. Matching was based on year of birth, sex, neighborhood income, and rural/urban residence. Data analysis was performed from August 6, 2022, to August 21, 2023.

Exposure — Diagnosis of an IMID, identified using algorithms based on diagnostic codes, procedures, and specialist visits.

Main Outcome and Measure — The main outcome was estimated age- and sex-standardized incidence of VTE. Proportional cause-specific hazard models compared the risk of VTE in people with and without IMIDs. Death was a competing risk. Models adjusted for history of VTE, 2 or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine 14 or more days prior to COVID-19 diagnosis, and the Charlson Comorbidity Index. Routinely collected health data were used, so the hypothesis tested was formulated after data collection but prior to being granted access to data.

Results — The study included 28 440 individuals (16 741 [58.9%] female; 11 699 [41.1%] male) with an IMID diagnosed prior to first COVID-19 diagnosis, with a mean (SD) age of 52.1 (18.8) years at COVID-19 diagnosis. These individuals were matched to 126 437 controls without IMIDs. The incidence of VTE within 6 months of COVID-19 diagnosis among 28 440 individuals with an IMID was 2.64 (95% CI, 2.23-3.10) per 100 000 person-days compared with 2.18 (95% CI, 1.99-2.38) per 100 000 person-days among 126 437 matched individuals without IMIDs. The VTE risk was not statistically significantly different among those with vs without IMIDs (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.95-1.32).

Conclusions and Relevance — In this retrospective population-based cohort study of individuals with IMIDs following COVID-19, individuals with IMIDs did not have a higher risk of VTE compared with individuals without an IMID. These data provide reassurance to clinicians caring for individuals with IMIDs and COVID-19.



Khan R, Kuenzig ME, Tang F, Im JHB, Widdifield J, McCurdy JD, Kaplan GG, Benchimol EI. JAMA Netw Open. 2023; 6(10):e2337020. Epub 2023 Oct 2.

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