The early months of 2020 have been quite the shock, hitting us hard with the ongoing health crisis of COVID-19. For months, the country along with the rest of the world has been dealing with its fallout. COVID-19 is a mysterious virus that is a household name, but few actually know what it does to the body. For the unaware, COVID-19 is an acute respiratory virus that hits the body in a variety of ways. Currently, known symptoms include breathing difficulties, high fever, body aches, lethargy, and occasionally dry cough. What most of these symptoms have in common is how they directly impact our lungs. COVID-19 also has lesser-known symptoms that instead impact our veins and how our venous system functions. Here is what we currently know about COVID-19 and how it impacts our veins:
As mentioned, COVID-19 has a variety of symptoms that have been reported all over the world. Most of these reported symptoms impact our lungs. Additional symptoms have also been reported to impact other critical areas of the body including our heart, kidneys, and even veins. Multiple patients have been reported in ICUs to display kidney damage and liver malfunction. Other patients have been reported to display heart issues and deep vein thrombosis. What all of these additional symptoms have in common is they can increase the mortality rate for those with COVID-19. Having so many factors related to COVID-19, it is no surprise that reports often are lacking with vein-related issues.
One critical COVID-19 case that has made headlines this year is associated with Nick Cordero, a Broadway and TV actor who was diagnosed earlier in the spring. Mr. Cordero developed severe symptoms quickly and was placed in a hospital. He was placed in a medically induced coma for him to wait out the virus. However, Mr. Cordero had to have his leg amputated during that time after developing deep vein thrombosis. But how would an individual such as him develop deep vein thrombosis while having an extended stay at the hospital?
To better understand that question, it is important to understand how deep vein thrombosis can develop. A deep vein thrombosis is a form of venous disease that develops as blood clots form in our veins typically in our legs. Most individuals with deep vein thrombosis report feelings of pain and swelling. However, it can lead to a pulmonary embolism that is possibly fatal. A pulmonary embolism occurs when the blood clot breaks away from the impacted vein and travels up the bloodstream; these clots can often get lodged close to your heart and be fatal. Having your deep vein thrombosis treated as soon as possible can help prevent further complications.
How your deep vein thrombosis forms all depends on what your veins have experienced. Deep vein thrombosis can often occur due to external injury or the result of surgery. Another common factor for the development of deep vein thrombosis is prolonged periods of no movement. All three of these factors can be found in those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are checked into the ICU. In fact, recent hospital reporting shows that ICU patients have a five to fifteen percenter higher chance to develop deep vein thrombosis. If you have a family history of deep vein thrombosis and are dealing with an injury, you could be very susceptible in developing it.
So far, we have covered how deep vein thrombosis can develop for those who have several risk factors and how ICU visits can increase those factors. COVID-19 patients can develop deep vein thrombosis just on these risk factors alone. However, COVID-19 is showing signs that it causes a hyperinflammatory state in those who have been diagnosed with it. This inflammation can lead to endothelial injury and cardiac arrest. Deep vein thrombosis is not the top concern for physicians who are checking in patients who have contracted COVID-19. But the risk those patients should encourage all physicians to consider, as deep vein thrombosis is more of a threat the longer that patient remains in the hospital or on bed rest.
Information regarding COVID-19 patients and deep vein thrombosis is becoming more readily available. The American Society of Hematology has created a new classification called COVID-19-associated coagulopathy to differentiate these patients from the rest. Current numbers are showing the rate of deep vein thrombosis has doubled for ICU patients during the recent COVID-19 health crisis.
While we now have to be more careful in maintaining our cleanliness during this time, we should not forget our vein health. The Laser Lipo and Vein Center will continue to help you by providing in-person and virtual consultations. Let us help you live a life with healthy veins today.