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People with Severe COVID-19 Face Increased Risk of Life-Threatening Blood Clots | NEWS-Line for School and Community Healthcare Professionals
 


People with Severe COVID-19 Face Increased Risk of Life-Threatening Blood Clots


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Individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 were more likely to develop venous thromboembolism – a potentially life-threatening condition – than those hospitalized with influenza, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, evaluated the absolute risk of hospitalized deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism events within 90 days after admission. “Our research found this association both before and during vaccine availability, showing that the risk was not stemming from vaccination,” said Vincent Lo Re III, MD, MSCE, an associate professor of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology at Penn and the study’s first author. “And that’s particularly important because individuals say they do not want to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of clotting risks. COVID-19 itself is the true risk of these dangerous clots, not the vaccines.”

Venous thromboembolism, which is comprised of both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, begins when a blood clot forms in a vein deep within the body, often the leg or pelvic region. The condition is dangerous because the clot can block blood circulation. During arterial thromboembolism, a clot causes a sudden interruption of blood flow to an organ or body part which in turn can lead to tissue damage, heart attack, or stroke.

Although COVID-19 is primarily considered a respiratory illness, some evidence suggests the virus may also induce excessive blood clotting, or hypercoagulability, in the body, but early studies on the topic were smaller and inconclusive.

This Penn study was the largest yet to tackle the issue, comprising of over 90,000 total patients. Among people hospitalized with influenza, the 90-day absolute risk of developing venous thromboembolism was 5.3 percent. For those hospitalized with COVID-19, 90-day risk was 9.5 percent before vaccine availability and 10.9 percent after COVID-19 vaccines became available. The 90-day risk of arterial thromboembolism was 14.4 percent in patients hospitalized with influenza compared with 15.8 percent in those with COVID-19 before vaccine availability and 16.3 percent during vaccine availability.

Lo Re and colleagues said one potential explanation for the increased risk may be the coronavirus’ ability to infect endothelial cells, which can incite inflammation and abnormalities in the coagulation process. However, the research team says more research is needed to confirm the association and investigate potential causes and possible mechanisms behind the blood conditions.

With collaboration from colleagues in Canada and Europe, the Penn researchers plan on examining COVID-19-related thrombotic cases outside the hospital setting and via an international meta-analysis.

This study was supported by the United States Food and Drug Administration (75F40119D10037, 75F40119F19001).

TOPIC: COVID-19

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $9.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $546 million awarded in the 2021 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 47,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2021, Penn Medicine provided more than $619 million to benefit our community.

Source: Penn Medicine






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