Background: Computed tomography (CT) plays a significant role in the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and has helped to identify patients with serious complications. We investigated the clinical characteristics and chest CT findings of COVID-19 positive patients complicated with acute pulmonary embolism (APE). Methods: A retrospective, record-based, case-series study was performed examining 483 patients admitted to King Saud Medical City during the pandemic, from April 2020 to June 2020. Of these, 92 patients who underwent chest CT scans were included in the final analysis. The incidence of APE, clinical presentations, radiological patterns, and patient outcomes were assessed and compared against those for patients without PE. Results: The incidence of APE was 22% [95% confidence interval (95% CI): 19%–39%], detected by chest CT. Men constituted 85.0% of patients, with a mean age of 48.9 ± 16.7 years. For most patients with APE, risk factors for thromboembolism were established but did not differ significantly from those without PE. The mean D-dimer level of 9.1 (range 7.0–10.2) was significantly higher among patients diagnosed with APE (OR: 1.021; 95% CI: 1.012–1.028; P = 0.001) compared with that in patients without PE. Moreover, the mean levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH, 628.5; range: 494.0–928.3; OR: 1.002; 95% CI: 1.000–1.003; P= 0.02), C-reactive protein (CRP; 158.5; range: 105.3–204.5; OR: 1.025; 95% CI: 1.015–1.035; P = 0.001), and cardiac troponin (3.5; range; 2.6–3.8; OR: 1.016; 95% CI: 0.971–1.067; P = 0.01) were also significantly higher in patients with APE than those in patients with PE. The chest CT presentations of APE included massive, segmental, and sub-segmental APE. The need for Intensive Care Unit admission was higher among patients diagnosed with APE, who presented a fatality rate of 10%. Conclusions: Our study raised awareness of the incidence and predictors of APE in COVID-19 patients. High levels of D-dimer, CRP, cardiac troponin, and LDH should alert the clinician to the possibility of APE in COVID-19 patients.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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