Study Links Coronavirus to Life-Threatening Blood Clots Found in Lower Limbs

January 28, 2021 14:44:00

According to study results reported in “Radiology”, researchers have discovered that the coronavirus is linked to fatal blood clots in leg arteries. The researchers stated that coronavirus patients who were in short supply of blood to their lower limbs tended to have bigger clots, and remarkably higher amputation rates and death, especially in comparison with COVID-negative individuals who had identical conditions.

When the pandemic was at its peak in New York, radiologists from a medical center in the Bronx noted a rise in the number of patients who tested positive for lower extremity arterial thrombosis on CT angiography exams. The patients exhibited symptoms of discoloration, pain and coldness on their legs.

This trend led the researchers to investigate a possible link between lower extremity arterial thrombosis and the coronavirus, with the objective of finding out whether individuals who had been infected with COVID-19 had a worse diagnosis.

To do this, during March and April 2020 researchers identified 16 coronavirus patients, with an average age of 70. These patients had CT angiographies of their lower limbs conducted, with researchers observing for any leg ischemia symptoms. They were then compared to another group made up of 32 individuals who were COVID-negative, whose average age was 71. The latter group had had CT angiographies conducted in prior years and were compatible with the coronavirus positive group for clinical and demographic characteristics.

When compared to 69% of the patients in the control group, the researchers found that all the patients who were COVID-positive and underwent lower extremity CT angiography had no less than a single clot in the leg. In addition to this, the clots in the coronavirus-positive patients affected arteries higher up in the leg and were noticeably larger. The researchers noted that limb amputation and death was also prevalent in the coronavirus patients as well.

Inessa A. Goldman, the lead author of the study, explained that the team discovered the arterial thrombosis that was linked to the coronavirus infection was set apart by extremely high rates of death and amputation, which they found to be 38% and 25% respectively. In comparison, the researchers had found the rates of both death and amputation in the control group to be 3%.

Goldman observed that as the coronavirus infection rates rose in the United States, it was critical that physicians be conscious of the link between lower extremity arterial thrombosis and the coronavirus. She added that an early diagnosis of the condition was key in helping preserve a patient’s limbs.

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