NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Doctors are seeing an unusual number of blood clots among COVID-19. And it’s not just affecting those older and critically ill. It’s happening among healthier and younger patients as well.
Complications of coronavirus led to the amputation of Broadway star Nick Cordero‘s right leg. His wife shared on social media that issues with clotting forced doctors to perform the surgery. The actor remains in a coma.
Doctors are now trying to figure out what’s behind the increasing link between COVID-19 and blood clots.
“There is no clear answer right now. What we do know is that we are seeing an increase incidence of blood clots in various parts of the body, sometimes the legs, the lungs, the brains,” says Dr. Asher Marks with Yale Medicine, who specializes in blood disorders.
Three possible factors — the body’s tendency to form clots due to inflammation, inactivity, and damage to the inner lining of blood vessels.
The hematologist says, “We know that anytime there’s a really ill patient, a patient in the ICU, a patient who has a lot of inflammation, they can form clots but it’s clear that patients with COVID are doing it more commonly and more frequently than other patients with similar viruses such as flu.”
New studies are revealing even more about seemingly healthy people with COVID.
“A lot of young people are actually presenting with things like stroke,” says Dr. Marks. “Things like what we call DVT – clots in the legs, clots in the lungs, pulmonary embolism.”
Typically, patients are prescribed blood-thinning medication.
“There are physicians talking about starting prophalactic doses at the first sign of COVID – even before a patient hits the ICU.”
Dr. Marks says the possibility of blood clots developing in COVID patients will now likely be front and center.
He explains, “As soon as the patient has a change in status and it doesn’t make a lot of sense, that’s where their head is going to be going — and it’s going to be about catching it early.”
Dr. Marks says that when blood clots were caught early and treated, patients recovered.
But like COVID itself, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. That — doctors are still trying to make sense of everything they are seeing.