Laffan MA, Rees S, Yadavalli M, Ferstenberg LB, Kumar Shankar N, Medin J, Foskett N, Arnold M, Gomes da Silva H, Bhuyan P, Nord M
Vaccine 40 (38) 5585-5593 [2022-09-09; online 2022-08-19]
Post-marketing surveillance for COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic identified an extremely rare thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) reported post-vaccination, requiring further characterisation to improve diagnosis and management. We searched the AstraZeneca Global Safety Database (through April 26, 2021) for cases with co-reported thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (using standardised MedDRA queries/high-level terms) following AZD1222 (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19). Cases were adjudicated by experts as 'typical','possible', 'no' or 'unknown' according to available TTS criteria. Additional confirmatory datasets (May 20-June 20, October 1-December 28) were evaluated. We identified 573 reports, including 273 (47.6 %) 'typical' and 171 (29.8 %) 'possible' TTS cases. Of these 444 cases, 275 (61.9 %) were female, median age was 50.0 years (IQR: 38.0-60.0). Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was reported in 196 (44.1 %) cases, splanchnic venous thrombosis in 65 (14.6 %) and thromboses at multiple sites in 119 (26.8 %). Median time to onset was 12.0 days (IQR: 9.0-15.0). Comparison with a pre-pandemic reference population indicated higher rates of autoimmune disorders (13.8 %, 4.4 %), previous heparin therapy (7.4 %, 1.2 %), history of thrombosis (5.5 %, 1.4 %), and immune thrombocytopenia (6.1 %, 0.2 %). Fatality rate was 22.2 % (127/573) overall and 23.6 % (105/444) in 'typical'/'possible' TTS, which decreased from 39.0 % (60/154) in February/March to 15.5 % (45/290) in April. Overall patterns were similar in confirmatory datasets. The reporting rate of 'typical'/'possible' TTS post first-dose vaccination in this dataset is 7.5 per million vaccinated persons; few cases were reported after subsequent doses, including booster doses. Peak reporting coincided with media-driven attention. Medical history differences versus a reference population indicate potentially unidentified risk factors. The decreasing fatality rate correlates with increasing awareness and publication of diagnostic/treatment guidelines. Adjudication was hindered by unreported parameters, and an algorithm was developed to classify potential TTS cases; comprehensive reporting could help further improve definition and management of this extremely rare syndrome.