COVID-19: How Starting Treatment Early Can Save You From Dying From Blood Clot Complications – Experts

Severely-ill COVID-19 patients can develop blood clots that can lead to liver failure, kidney failure and blockage of the lungs, haematologists say. The experts, however, explained that if a patient gets immediate medical attention, the fatality of the clots can be reversed.

Speaking with PUNCH Healthwise in an exclusive interview, Head of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Prof. Sulaimon Akanmu said “the clot reported in patients with COVID-19 is different from the type of clot you and I know about.

 We know about deep vein thrombosis that develops in the veins of the leg and can be complicated by the clot getting detached from the endothelial lining of the veins of the leg.

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According to Prof. Akanmu, if the clot gets detached and travels from the veins of the legs and gets impacted to smaller blood vessels within the lungs, it can cause problems in the lungs, called pulmonary embolism.

“Another clot occurs in the blood vessel that we call arteries and the complication of that is what we call gangrene because it will not allow the artery to take the blood and oxygen to the tissues. The tissue will die of lack of oxygen, otherwise called hypoxic death.

“However, the type of clot that occurs in patients with COVID-19 occurs in the smallest type of blood vessel called the capillary,”

Akanmu said.

Akanmu said the mechanism behind this is yet to be fully understood but the proposition is that the SARS-COV2 virus generates many viral proteins that are capable of activating complement protein.

The end product of complements activation is the deposition of the activated complement, usually referred to as C5b-9 protein on the blood vessel and it happens that this deposition occurs in the capillaries.

When you have that complement protein getting deposited on the capillary, it is capable of perforating the membrane of the endothelium and cause damage to the cells.

When that happens, the protein behind the cells called sub endothelial structures is exposed to the blood flowing within the capillary.

Microvascular thrombosis occurs only in an individual who has advanced COVID-19 disease,

Akanmu noted.

The don said the most important way of preventing the blood clots is to start treatment of COVID-19 immediately, so that it does not progress to the advanced stage of the disease.

But if you miss that and you are beginning to see that thrombosis might be happening, then you have to treat microvascular thrombosis, which is the use of anticoagulant.

Akanmu further said the blood clot becomes dangerous if it happens in the brain, muscles of the heart or capillaries of the lungs.

“If the blood clot happens in the capillaries of the brain, muscles of the heart, it is dangerous or if it happens in the capillaries of the lungs, you will not be able to transfer oxygen from the lungs to the blood and that is fatal.

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