Blood thickness could increase risk of COVID-19 complications, death —Study

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Oluwatobiloba Jaiyeola

A new study has indicated that the thickness of an individual’s blood may play a role in the increased risk of dying from COVID-19.

The thickness of blood, the study also stated may also increase the risk of COVID-19 complications.

The researchers stated that their study revealed that patients who were hospitalised with COVID-19 and have higher blood viscosity are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19-related complications.

According to the researchers, this is the first large-scale study to attempt to use blood viscosity to foretell death risk among COVID-19 patients.

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology analysed data from 5,621 COVID-19 patients from six hospitals in the Mount Sinai Health System, between the periods of February 2020 and November 2021.

The researchers stated that the diagnoses of COVID-19 in all participants were clinically and laboratory confirmed, adding that they were detected within two days of hospitalisation and followed until they were discharged or passed away.

Findings from the study indicated that hospitalised patients with high blood viscosity in their arteries had a 60 per cent increased rate of COVID-19-related deaths, and a 32 per cent higher mortality was discovered in patients with thicker blood in the smallest vessels.

The researchers advised physicians that while treating a COVID-19 patient with thick blood, they may want to put into consideration the use of blood thinners.

Patients may also benefit from hydration, or intensification of steroid doses, to reduce the severity of the acute phase response to COVID-19, the study authors added.  

One of the study authors, the director of cardiometabolic disorders for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, Dr. Robert Rosenson said, “This study demonstrates the importance of checking for blood viscosity in COVID-19 patients early in hospital admission, which is easily obtained through routine lab work.

“Results can help determine the best treatment course for at-risk patients and help improve outcomes.

“We are currently investigating the effects of therapeutic heparin to reduce the risk of complications during acute COVID-19 infections, which may greatly benefit those with high blood viscosity,” he said.

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