Blood thinners help keep hospitalized COVID-19 patients out of ICU

February 17, 2021

“These exciting results give us another tool to help hospitalized patients with COVID-19.”- Dr. Lana CastellucciFull-dose blood thinners reduced the need for mechanical ventilation and transfer to the ICU in moderately ill patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to interim results from an international clinical trial.

The Ottawa Hospital was one over 300 hospitals to take part in this study, under the local leadership of Dr. Lana Castellucci. The Ottawa Hospital was the top-recruiting site in Canada, with 41 patients.

All hospitalized patients already get a low dose of blood thinner to prevent blood clots. This study looked at whether COVID-19 patients, who are at higher risk of clots, would benefit from a larger dose.

The results showed that the full dose of blood thinner was safe and helped keep moderately ill patients out of the ICU. However, the full dose did not help COVID-19 patients already in the ICU, and in some cases may have been harmful. These findings have already changed practice at The Ottawa Hospital, and could potentially reduce the burden on intensive care units around the world. See the National Institutes of Health press release.

“These exciting results give us another tool to help hospitalized patients with COVID-19.”-Dr. Lana Castellucci, scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

Research team at The Ottawa Hospital/uOttawa: Drs. Lana Castellucci, Marc Carrier, Dean Fergusson, Alan Karovitch, Cathy Code, research nurses Irene Watpool and Rebecca Porteous.  Special thanks to the General Internal Medicine physicians and COVID wards nursing staff for supporting this study.

External Co-Principal Investigators: Drs. Ryan Zarychanski (University of Manitoba), Patrick Lawler (University of Toronto), Ewan Goligher (University of Toronto)

Funding: The Ottawa Hospital trial site was funded by The Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Research at The Ottawa Hospital is also enabled by generous donations to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa.   

Media Contact 
Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute