Blood clotting seen as additional threat for coronavirus patients: report

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Doctors are beginning to notice that blood clots could be another troubling complication for patients who are hospitalized with coronavirus.

The clots present the latest challenge for doctors working to understand the new virus that is known to cause respiratory disease. These clots are being found in younger patients and can result in sudden strokes, according to reports Wednesday.

“It’s very striking how much this disease causes clots to form,” Dr. J Mocco, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York, told Reuters.

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Resident doctor Kelvin Lou attends to a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul's hospital in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on April 21. <br data-cke-eol="1">
(Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

Resident doctor Kelvin Lou attends to a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul's hospital in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on April 21. <br data-cke-eol="1"> (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

Mocco said he saw 32 stroke patients with large blood blockages in the brain, and at least half tested positive for the virus. Five of the patients had no risk factors for strokes and were under the age of 49, which he said was “Very, very atypical.”

Dr. Hooman Poor, a lung specialist at the hospital, noticed blood was not flowing well through the lungs of 14 patients on ventilators, which he determined was due to clotting.

"I feel like all these patients have blood clots in their lungs,’” Poor said, according to the news organization.

On April 13, a study published by researchers in the Netherlands found that 31 percent of intensive-care unit coronavirus patients they observed had a complication associated with clotting. The study described the findings as "remarkably high."

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Michael Reagan, a 49-year-old COVID-19 patient in New York, was informed by a pulmonologist that he had dozens of blood clots throughout his lungs.

"It feels like a toxin is in my body," Reagan told Business Insider. "I had no idea a blood clot could hurt so bad."

Certain treatments could involve having patients take high doses of a blood-thinning drug to prevent the clotting from appearing, although they haven't been proven, according to Reuters.

Tony Award-nominated actor Nick Cordero has had his right leg amputated after suffering complications from the coronavirus, including clotting, his wife said earlier this month.

“We took him off blood thinners but that again was going to cause some clotting in the right leg, so the right leg will be amputated today,” she added.

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Blood thinners on high-risk patients may also lead to bleeding in the brain or certain vital organs, health officials told the news organization.

While clotting can happen in anyone who stays idle on a ventilator for long periods of time, doctors said it appears to show up sooner in COVID-19 patients.

The Associated Press contributed to this report