COVID-19 as a Vascular Disease

Lesson Learned from Imaging and Blood Biomarkers

Paolo Zamboni


COVID-19, a disease initially thought to be prominently an interstitial pneumonia with varying degrees of severity, can be considered a vascular disease with regards to serious complications and causes of mortality. Quite recently, blood clots have emerged as the common factor unifying many of the symptoms initially attributed without an explanation to COVID-19. Cardiovascular biomarkers and particularly, D-dimer and troponin appear to be very powerful prognostic markers, signaling the need for earlier and more aggressive interventions and treatments in order to avoid and/or minimize arterial/venous thromboembolism and myocardial infarct. The ultrasound imaging patterns at both the lung and peripheral vascular level can also be very useful weapons that have the advantage of being able to monitor longitudinally the clinical picture, something that real-time PCR/nasopharyngeal swab is not able to do and that CT can only pursue with significant radiation exposure. A lesson learned in the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic suggests quitting and starting again with targeted imaging and blood vascular biomarkers.

Key Words: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; thrombosis; deep vein thrombosis; venous thromboembolism; ultrasound; vascular biomarkers; D-dimer; ischemia; lung ultrasound; contrast-enhanced ultrasound; pulmonary embolism

Diagnostics (Basel). 2020 Jul; 10(7): 440. Published online 2020 Jun 29
© 2020 by the author.