Impeded blood flow due to mysterious clotting is the latest complication of SARS-COV-2, the Coronavirus which causes COVID-19 disease, reported widely in the US, Europe, and China.
Recently, Los Angeles doctors were forced to amputate the right leg of Nick Cordero, a Broadway and TV actor of Canadian origin, after his blood flow was disrupted due to a clot.
According to Shari Brosnahan, a critical care doctor at NYU Langone in New York, thrombotic events or blood clotting occur due to a wide range of reasons in patients admitted to intensive care. However, the rates of blood clotting among COVID-19’s critically ill patients are unprecedented and much higher than expected.
I have had 40-year-olds in my ICU who have clots in their fingers that look like they’ll lose the finger, but there’s no other reason to lose the finger than the virus.
Brosnahan further adds that blood clotting isn’t just dangerous for the limbs, it can severely damage the brain, heart, and lungs, resulting in strokes, heart attacks, and pulmonary embolisms.
A recent paper from the Netherlands published in the journal Thrombosis Research states that 31% of the 184 patients admitted to intensive care developed thrombotic complications.
Although extreme consequences like amputation were rarely reported among the patients in the study, the researchers have called the number of patients developing thrombotic complications remarkably high.
Another study published in The American College of Cardiology states that COVID-19 patients have a higher risk of suffering blood clotting. Even before ordering imaging tests, Coronavirus patients might need to be administered blood thinners as a preventive measure.
According to the study, critically ill patients admitted to intensive care often have underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, linked most of the time with higher rates of blood clotting.
Another possible explanation of COVID-19 patients developing blood clots is that they are forced to stay still for so long. That is why doctors recommend people to stretch and move around on long-distance flights.
While the exact reasons for thrombotic complications linked with COVID-19 remain incomprehensible for now, the study of The American College of Cardiology offers some possible explanations as to why the rates of blood clotting are higher in Coronavirus patients.