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Doctors find blood clot, cardiac complications in post-COVID cases

Doctors in city have been seeing increasing instances of blood clotting, known as thrombosis, in specific body parts among recovered COVID-19 patients, prompting them to recommend adding blood thinners as part of coronavirus treatment protocol to prevent later complications.

Doctors find blood clot, cardiac complications in post-COVID cases


Sustained respiratory distress and mild cardiac conditions are usually associated with post COVID-19 illness. However, vascular experts claimed that formation of blood clots are also seen common among recovered patients. These blood clots may lead to paralysis of the specific body parts and often require surgical intervention to cure.

Recently, a 47-year-old woman who had recovered from the infection was brought to a private hospital in city with pain and numbness in her left hand. The CT scan showed that her left subclavian and axillary artery (a major artery that supplies blood) was blocked by blood clot, and the artery near the elbow was completely inflamed. The clot was finally cleared by open surgery and the inflamed artery was replaced by a vein from the left leg.

That was an extreme case of clot in blood vessels and early intervention was possible. There, however, are many coronavirus patients who suffer from partial or complete paralysis even after recovery, said vascular surgeons.

Dr S Balakumar, senior vascular surgeon at Fortis Malar Hospital said blood clots can occur in any part of the body and affect the patients even after they test negative for coronavirus infection. “The extent of inflammation due to clots can vary but the precautionary measure of administering blood thinners should be done along with the treatment for virus to prevent complications,” he said.

“Early detection of these symptoms, close monitoring and follow up of recovered patients for at least about a month would help in COVID-associated complications, as the problems can recur and progress. A blood test can help detect the issues early and blood thinners should be given when the patient is being treated for the pandemic,” added Dr Balakumar. COVID-induced thrombosis usually happens at the end of the infection, that is, after 14 days, but there have been a few cases where the condition developed after discharge from the hospital. If detected early, they can be managed using blood thinners, said Dr S Saravanan, director, Institute of Kidney Diseases, Urology and Organ Transplantation, Madras Medical Mission, who has performed at least seven such surgeries on recovered COVID patients so far.

He pointed out that while usually the blood clot is semisolid and easily dissolvable with blood thinning drugs. “But COVID-related thrombus was hard in consistency and needed surgical intervention unless it is detected early,” Dr Saravanan added.

Besides thrombosis, Dr Saravanan said he has also found asymptomatic patients develop heart complications such as myocardial damage, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias in the later period.

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