Are platelet volume indices of clinical use in COVID-19? A systematic review

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Background: The incidence of thrombotic complications is high in COVID-19 patients with severe disease. As key regulators of thrombus formation, platelets likely play a crucial role as mediators of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 associated pathogenesis. Studies have reported that parameters reflecting platelet size, known as platelet volume indices (PVI), are raised in patients with thrombosis and can predict poor outcomes. This systematic review evaluates the potential for PVI to be used as a predictor of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.

Methods: English and Chinese databases were searched electronically to identify studies reporting data on mean platelet volume, platelet distribution width or platelet-large cell ratio in COVID-19 patients. Included articles underwent a quality rating and descriptive narrative analysis.

Results: Thirty-two studies were included in the systematic review. The results show a general trend for PVI to be raised in severe COVID-19 patients and non-survivors, with 14 studies reporting significant differences of baseline PVI between severe and mild disease. Nonetheless, longitudinal studies showed varying PVI trends over the course of the disease and evidence for PVI to be associated with disease progression was limited. The quality rating of 12 studies was poor, 16 were rated fair and four were good. Most studies were retrospective in design, used small study populations and did not consider confounding factors that influence platelet volume. Studies also contained technical flaws in PVI measurement, limiting the reliability of the results.

Conclusion: The evidence on the clinical usefulness of PVI is greatly limited by the lack of prospective evaluation, together with technical problems in measuring PVI. Carefully designed prospective studies are warranted.

Systematic review registration:, identifier CRD42022304305.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1031092
JournalFrontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2022


  • COVID-19
  • mean platelet volume
  • platelet distribution width
  • platelet large cell ratio
  • thrombosis


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