Blood clots, stroke becoming more common in COVID-19 patients

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Dangerous microscopic blood clots are becoming more common in some coronavirus patients. They can form all over the body and cause deadly strokes.

Jonathon Keith Goodman of Amarillo devoted the last 11-years of his life to working in state prisons.
The 52-year-old suffered a stroke at home and later tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common in people suffering from coronavirus.

“About five days ago, I saw a patient with what I presume were issues with clotting,” Dr. Robert Creath, Chief of Emergency Services at UT Health Tyler’s Level One Trauma Center says. “We have learned that the problems in the lungs could be stemming from very tiny clots called microthrombi.”

Clotting is the body’s natural reaction when you get a cut to stop any bleeding, but when it happens inside your veins or arteries it can cause a blockage which can lead to a stroke.

Symptoms of blood clots include pain in the legs or chest, swelling in the arms or legs, and skin discoloration.

Emergency room doctors all over the country have witnessed this clotting.

“We have autopsies now showing microthrombi, tiny clots, found throughout the lungs and brain as well,” Greater Philadephia Area emergency physician Dr. Rick Pescatore says.

An MIT study found almost three-quarters of people killed by coronavirus had clots.

Dr. Steven Warach, an international stroke expert at UT Austin, says a patient can be showing mild or no symptoms of COVID-19 when a stroke hits.

“It could be it’s not causing the respiratory issues and fevers but it’s causing some of the other effects on the heart and blood clotting system.”

Dr. Steven Warach, Professor of Neurology at the Dell Medical School

Remember the signs of stroke with the acronym “F.A.S.T.”

  • “F” stands for face drooping.
  • “A” is for arm weakness.
  • “S” is for speech difficulty or slurred speech.
  • “T” stands for “time to call 9-1-1.”

“We have found out that we want to keep people off of ventilators as long as possible,” Dr. Creath says. “We want to put people on ventilators only if we have exceeded every other possibility for treatment. We found people actually do okay. “

UT Health East Texas officials are urging people not to delay preventative care and not be hesitant to leave the house and seek immediate help.

“Suddenly, the amount of people showing up for stroke care is decreasing,” Moody Chisholm, President, and CEO of UT Health East Texas says. “This is concerning. If you are having symptoms of stroke you need to get to one of our hospitals immediately.”

It is still unknown what exactly is causing these clots, but treatment can be as simple as blood thinners.

UT Health Tyler has isolated COVID-19 patients to eliminate any fear for people looking to seek treatment at their facilities.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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