The Covid-19 vaccine programme has been dominated by questions about blood clots and safety. But what do we really know about the link between the virus and blood clotting?
New research has discovered recent Covid-19 infection puts patients who have had surgery at higher risk of fatal blood clots.
Covid-19 and surgery
Researchers at Birmingham University revealed patients currently or previously diagnosed with coronavirus are more likely to develop postoperative venous thromboembolism (VTE) than those with no history of Covid-19 infection.
VTE has been noted as number one preventable cause of death in hospitalised patients.
Symptoms of a blood clot include:
- Throbbing or cramping pain, swelling, redness and warmth in an arm or leg
- Sudden breathlessness, sharp chest pain, a cough or coughing up blood
If left untreated, blood clots can cause serious damage to the brain, heart and lungs.
In the worst cases, they can be fatal.
The study found those who develop VTEs had five times increased risk of death within 30 days after surgery.
Patients hospitalised with Covid-19 have previously been shown to have a high risk of VTE – between 9% and 26% despite the use of preventative drugs, and as high as 31% in patients within critical care settings.