Blood Clots, A Very Common Symptom In Persons With Severe COVID-19

THERE is a high probability of recording high blood clots cases in persons who are admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and those with severe COVID-19 symptoms than in other groups, a top immunologist has said.

By Michael Gwarisa

Speaking during an informal meeting with Journalists recently, Dr Tinashe Gede said in as much as there has been concern over people developing blood clots from vaccines elsewhere in the world, the incidence of thrombosis or blood clots, COVID-19 had proved to be the most highly pro-thrombotic illness to have ever been experienced in the history of mankind.

If you take 100 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, about four of them will get a blood clot. The risk of blood clots with COVID-19 is probably about 4%. If you look at those in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), that incident goes up to about 25% to 30%.

“Severe COVID-19 that puts you in ICU is almost assured of getting you a blood clot, which is why when you look at the treatment protocols, a person who has COVID-19 when admitted, is put on blood thinners until he or she is discharged. COVID-19 is the most pro-thrombotic illness we have ever had, there is no other illness that has caused as many clots as COVID-19 has,” said Dr Gede.

Zimbabwe has of late been registering an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations with not less than 353 cases having been reported by end of day June, 28, 2021. Of the 353 cases, 40 were new admissions, 97 asymptomatic cases, 209 mild to moderate, 44 had severe symptoms while three were in the ICU.

Dr Gede added that with regards to vaccine induced thrombosis, the key thing was to remember how common and frequent it happens and the good thing was that it was also possible to predetermine who is at high risk of developing vaccine linked blood clots.

“It seems to be predominantly females who are premenopausal especially if they are obese or they are taking hormones. So there is an interaction between a ramped up immune response and Estrogen that seem to drive the clotting process. The estimates are that, 1 in about 350,000 people who get for example the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may develop an unusual blood clot.

“The United Kingdom argues that it’s 1 in 700,000 although the Canadians and the Americans feel that its probably a little bit more. As you can see, it is exceedingly rare to get a blood clot from a vaccine. You have to balance between the risk of getting a blood clot after getting infected, versus the very small risk of getting a clot from a vaccine. Because its exceedingly rare, your risk of getting a blood clot is very low.”

He also said some countries that were administering Viral Vector Vaccines such the Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca had excluded women of reproductive age from getting the viral vector vaccines and have put women below the 50 on non-viral vector vaccines such as Pfizer.

Meanwhile, thrombosis occurs when blood clots block blood vessels and there are two main types of thrombosis and these are Venous thrombosis and Arterial thrombosis. Venous thrombosis is when the blood clot blocks a vein. Veins carry blood from the body back into the heart while Arterial thrombosis is when the blood clot blocks an artery. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the body.

Early signs of thrombosis or blood clot include Pain, Swelling, Warmth, Redness, Leg cramps, often starting in the calf, Leg pain that worsens when bending the foot and bluish or whitish skin discoloration.


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