Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 were developed, tested, and introduced at a remarkable speed. Although the vaccine introduction had a major impact on the evolution of COVID-19, some potential rare side-effects of the vaccines were observed. Within a short period, three scientific groups from Norway, Germany, and the UK reported cerebral venous sinus thrombosis with thrombocytopenia and anti-platelet factor 4 (anti-PF4) antibodies in individuals following AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccination and named this new syndrome vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). This syndrome was subsequently reported in individuals who received Johnson & Johnson vaccination. In this Viewpoint, we discuss the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and optimal diagnostic and therapeutic management of VITT. Presentation of an individual with possible VITT should raise prompt testing for anti-PF4 antibodies and initiation of treatment targeting autoimmune processes with intravenous immunoglobulin and prothrombotic processes with non-heparin anticoagulation.
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