Blood Clotting Tied to Worse COVID-19 Outcomes

By Serena McNiff
HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY September 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Most people now know that COVID-19 can cause blood clots, which can lead to paralysis, stroke, heart attack, and death.

While it’s unclear exactly how SARS-CoV-2 causes clots, a new study suggests that the amount of a particular protein – called factor V – in a patient’s blood may have something to do with it. with that.

In March, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital obtained a blood sample from a patient with severe COVID-19 and noticed something unusual. The patient’s blood had significantly higher than normal factor V levels.

The researchers then studied more than 100 patients treated in the intensive care unit for COVID-19.

High levels of factor V were found in the group, and almost half of the patients had levels above normal. When the researchers compared the samples to historical records, more than one in 10 patients had higher factor V levels than previously seen in the hospital.

“Aside from COVID-19, I’ve never seen anything else causing a marked increase in factor V, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years,” said study co-author Dr. Elizabeth. Van Cott, in a hospital press release. She is a pathology researcher at Mass General and a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School.

The study found that patients with high factor V were more likely to have blood clots in the lungs, called pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or clots in the veins.

Among patients with elevated factor V levels, one-third had either DVT or pulmonary embolism, compared to 13% of patients with lower levels.

While patients with high factor V levels were at greater risk for clotting problems, patients with lower factor V levels had a higher risk of death, the researchers found.

A decrease in factor V levels could indicate that patients are progressing to a serious and often fatal condition in which the clotting processes become overactive, said Van Cott and his colleagues.

They said the results could help identify patients at increased risk of blood clots and death.

The results were recently published online in the American Journal of Hematology.

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SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital press release, September 8, 2020

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