Clinician-scientists have found that Irish patients admitted to hospital with severe coronavirus (COVID-19) infection are experiencing abnormal blood clotting that contributes to death in some patients.
The research team from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland found that abnormal blood clotting occurs in Irish patients with severe COVID-19 infection, causing micro-clots within the lungs.
According to the study, they also found that Irish patients with higher levels of blood clotting activity had a significantly worse prognosis and were more likely to require ICU admission.
“Our novel findings demonstrate that COVID-19 is associated with a unique type of blood clotting disorder that is primarily focussed within the lungs and which undoubtedly contributes to the high levels of mortality being seen in patients with COVID-19,” said Professor James O’Donnell from St James’s Hospital in Ireland.
In addition to pneumonia affecting the small air sacs within the lungs, the research team has also hundreds of small blood clots throughout the lungs.
This scenario is not seen with other types of lung infection and explains why blood oxygen levels fall dramatically in severe COVID-19 infection, the study, published in the British Journal of Haematology said.
“Understanding how these micro-clots are being formed within the lung is critical so that we can develop more effective treatments for our patients, particularly those in high-risk groups,” O’Donnell said.
“Further studies will be required to investigate whether different blood-thinning treatments may have a role in selected high-risk patients in order to reduce the risk of clot formation,” Professor O’Donnell added.
According to the study, emerging evidence also shows that the abnormal blood-clotting problem in COVID-19 results in a significantly increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
As of Friday morning, the cases increased to 20,612 cases in Ireland, with 1,232 deaths so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University.