Doctors are now reporting cases where the coronavirus (COVID-19) may be causing blood clots and consequently, strokes in a small number of people in their 30s and 40s. These young and middle-aged patients, some who did not know they had COVID-19, were “not otherwise terribly ill,” CNN reports.
“The virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke,” Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, told CNN. “Our report shows a seven-fold increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks. Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of [COVID-19].”
For weeks, doctors have been seeing mysterious blood clots in some COVID-19 patients. Blood clotting is a risk for any critically ill patient, especially if they are immobilized and on a ventilator. But an early study suggested a higher rate of blood clotting in COVID-19 patients compared to patients with respiratory failure who were not infected, according to WebMD.
“We still need more controlled data, but based on clinical observations and the few studies that have been published, it looks like thrombosis [blood clotting] is more common in these patients,” Adam Cuker, MD, a hematologist and associate professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, told WebMD.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, experts have learned that the virus causes more than respiratory symptoms for patients. Along with telltale signs such as a fever, cough and shortness or breath and severe difficulty breathing in serious cases, research suggests COVID-19 can lead to a wide range of other symptoms. These symptoms may include digestive issues, pink eye, sudden loss of smell or taste, and in rarer cases, heart and neurological issues.