Korean J Anesthesiol.  2021 Apr;74(2):91-102. 10.4097/kja.21006.

The role of rotational thromboelastometry during the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital Essen, University Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
  • 2Tem Innovations, Munich, Germany
  • 3College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia
  • 4Division of Anesthesia, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is currently recognized as a global health crisis. This viral infection is frequently associated with hypercoagulability, with a high incidence of thromboembolic complications that can be fatal. In many situations, the standard coagulation tests (SCT) fail to detect this state of hypercoagulability in patients with COVID-19 since clotting times are either not or only mildly affected. The role of viscoelastic tests such as rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM®) during this pandemic is explored in this review. COVID-19-associated coagulopathy, as measured using the rotational thromboelastometry parameters, can vary from hypercoagulability due to increased fibrin polymerization and decreased fibrinolysis to bleeding from hypocoagulability. The use of a multimodal diagnostic and monitoring approach, including both rotational thromboelastometry and SCT, such as plasma fibrinogen and D-dimer concentrations, is recommended. Rotational thromboelastometry provides comprehensive information about the full coagulation status of each patient and detects individual variations. Since COVID-19-associated coagulopathy is a very dynamic process, the phenotype can change during the course of infection and in response to anticoagulation therapy. Data from published literature provide evidence that the combination of rotational thromboelastometry and SCT analysis is helpful in detecting hemostasis issues, guiding anticoagulant therapy, and improving outcomes in COVID-19 patients. However, more research is needed to develop evidence-based guidelines and protocols.


Anticoagulation; Coagulopathy; COVID-19; Fibrinolysis shutdown; Hypercoagulability; SARS-CoV-2; Thromboelastometry; Thrombosis
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