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Mysterious blood clots in COVID-19 patients have doctors alarmed

Red blood cells
(Image: © Shutterstock)

As doctors learn more about what makes COVID-19 so severe for some patients, they have discovered a mysterious and potentially lethal complication of the disease: blood clots.

Many doctors have reported seeing an alarming number of COVID-19 patients with blood clots — gel-like clumps in the blood that can cause serious problems, such as heart attack and stroke, according to news reports.

"The number of clotting problems I'm seeing in the ICU [intensive care unit], all related to COVID-19, is unprecedented," Dr. Jeffrey Laurence, a hematologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, told CNN.

Some doctors started to notice that their COVID-19 patients were developing clots in their legs, even while they were on blood thinners, according to The Washington Post. Others reported trouble with dialysis machines for COVID-19 patients, because clots in the patients' blood would clog the machine tubing, according to CNN.

In addition, some COVID-19 autopsies have found tiny blood clots throughout the lungs, the Post reported.

Reports are also surfacing of relatively young people, in their 30s and 40s, who are having strokes after being infected with the new coronavirus, according to CNN. It's known that strokes are often caused by blot clots that break free and travel to vessels in the brain.

The link between COVID-19 and clots has led some hospitals to put all COVID-19 patients on low doses of blood thinners to prevent clots, according to CNN.

It's not uncommon for patients in the ICU to experience blood clots, but the level of clotting with COVID-19 does appear out of the ordinary, CNN reported. A recent study from the Netherlands, published in the journal Thrombosis Research, found that out of 184 COVID-19 patients in the ICU, more than 30% experienced some type of clotting issue. This number is "alarming," Dr. Behnood Bikdeli, cardiovascular medicine fellow at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, told CNN.

Given that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, doctors expected the most serious effects to be in the lungs, not the blood. It's still unclear why COVID-19 patients are experiencing these clots.

The clots could be the result of an overactive immune system, which leads to an imbalance in "clotting factors" that can cause clotting or bleeding, the Post reported.

But doctors note that many COVID-19 patients in the ICU also have other risk factors for blood clots, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, according to CNN.

Doctors say there is an urgent need to study this issue and whether blood thinners can help COVID-19 patients, CNN reported.

Originally published on Live Science. 

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  • ty2010
    Problem, weren't thinners implicated in fluid accumulation in lungs? Thoracentesis incoming?
    Reply
  • Duke Hawe
    admin said:
    It must be common knowledge that high frequency (GHz) square EM waves cause rouleaux and plates in the blood stopping it from passing through the capillaries. In places with high levels of WiFi and other microwave radiation, the immune system is also knocked out and all living entities are susceptible to alien (viral) attack. So you would expect high case numbers in institutions like care homes and hospitals which have the highest emissions and numbers of devices.
    Reply
  • zee
    The key determinants of the morbidity and mortality with COVID 19 seems to me, seems to be existence of:

    1- Artherosclerosis (hypertension, ageing ...)

    - Kids don't have artherosclerosis, thus they rarely suffer of any complications of COVID 19.

    - The older you are, the greater the risk of atherosclerosis, the greater the risk of dying of COVID

    - Prevalence of artherosclerosis is higher in men than women- more men die of COVID 19 than women

    2- Hypercoagulability
    Controversial and difficult to accept but COVID seems to be binding to RBCs and leading to thrombosis both venous and arterial...
    COVID is a disease like no other one. This means that it pathophysiology does not fit with traditional knowledge. We need to think outside the box and accept concept that may sound "ridiculous"- COVID may well be binding to RBCs

    I might be wise to start anticoagulation as soon as the diagnosis of Covid 19 is made. We are probably seeing or admitting patients too late when venous and arterial thrombosis is already present and undiagnosed.

    I wonder if patients at high of arteriosclerosis with the diagnosis COVID 19 were all started on anticoagulation as soon as the diagnosis was made, the burden of the disease would be so big.
    Reply
  • zee
    The key determinants of the morbidity and mortality with COVID 19 to me, seems to be existence of:

    1- Artherosclerosis (hypertension, ageing ...)

    - Kids don't have artherosclerosis, thus they rarely suffer of any complications of COVID 19.

    - The older you are, the greater the risk of atherosclerosis, the greater the risk of dying of COVID

    - Prevalence of artherosclerosis is higher in men than women- more men die of COVID 19 than women

    2- Hypercoagulability
    Controversial and difficult to accept but COVID seems to be binding to RBCs and leading to thrombosis both venous and arterial...
    COVID is a disease like no other one. This means that it pathophysiology does not fit with traditional knowledge. We need to think outside the box and accept concept that may sound "ridiculous"- COVID may well be binding to RBCs

    it might be wise to start anticoagulation as soon as the diagnosis of Covid 19 is made. We are probably seeing or admitting or treating patients too late when venous and arterial thrombosis is already present and even though it is undiagnosed because we do look for it.

    We are sending patients home thinking that it is a respiratory disease only to see them return later with short of breath and a CTPA (scanner) shows PE (pulmonary embolism).

    Patients with short of breath and low oxygen saturation have micro thrombi in lung vessels and many have PE. What is the relative contribution of thrombi-embolism of the lung versus direct lung injury to the low oxygen saturation and respiratory failure.

    Why are nearly in some reports all patients on ventilator dying? Is it because we are pushing oxygen through a lung blocked by clots and causing more harm than benefits?

    Why not see that the disease is presenting itself primary as a thrombi-embolic disease and of course the state of blood vessels matters (artherosclerosis as stated above...)

    I wonder if patients at high risk of arteriosclerosis with the diagnosis COVID 19 were all started on anticoagulation as soon as the diagnosis was made, the burden of the disease would be so big.
    Reply