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When COVID-19 was first identified, experts treated it like a respiratory virus. Over time, however, many have come to understand that it also has the potential to impact the cardiovascular system, as a number of severely ill COVID patients have developed dangerous blood clots.
For that reason, most patients who are sick enough to require hospitalization are now being given anticoagulant (blood thinning) medication — and the payoff is becoming clear.
New research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, examined data on 4,389 people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York City between March and April. They focused on comparing outcomes between those patients who had been given blood thinners (either as a preventative measure or because they had already developed a blood clot) and those who were not put on these drugs.
According to their findings, patients who received blood thinners were significantly less likely to be put on a ventilator compared to those who were not given anticoagulant medications. Those who received blood thinners were also less likely to die while in the hospital.
The authors also looked at autopsies of the first 26 COVID-19 patients who died and found that 11 of them (42 percent) had a serious blood clot at the time of death.
“Our findings are in line with what other studies have shown,” study co-author Anuradha Lala, MD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told MedPage Today. “We’re seeing more clots than we would have ever suspected previously.”
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Nadkarni GN, et al. Anticoagulation, Mortality, Bleeding and Pathology Among Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19: A Single Health System Study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. August 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.08.041.
Phend C. Blood Thinners Again Linked to COVID-19 Survival in Hospital. MedPage Today. August 26, 2020. https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/88279.