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Blood thinners being used to mitigate risk of clots in COVID-19 patients

Unraveling COVID-19 blood clot mystery
Unraveling COVID-19 blood clot mystery 05:28

Blood clots are turning up as a dangerous problem in some coronavirus patients — doctors are reporting pulmonary embolisms and strokes in people suffering from the illness, even younger patients. A few hospitals, like New York's Mount Sinai, are experimenting with a new treatment for COVID-19 patients to get ahead of the troubling issue and increase their chances of survival. 

"We found that anticoagulation decreases mortality, particularly in patients who were very sick," Dr. Valentin Fuster, director of Mount Sinai Heart, told CBS News' Dr. Tara Narula. 

Mount Sinai launched an observational study using nearly 3,000 coronavirus patients, and found that using blood thinners as a preventative measure was helpful to avoiding the clots.

"We are doing now a second study of 6,000 patients, and it appears we are validating what happened with the first 3,000," Foster said. 

Dr. Adam Cuker, who studies blood clotting at the University of Pennsylvania, noted the symptom's unique link to COVID-19.

"The data I have seen so far suggests that the risk of clotting with COVID-19 is greater than other infectious diseases that we have observed," Cuker said.

In April, 33-year-old Warnell Vega thought he had a cold until his symptoms quickly worsened.

"I went to go wash my hands. Right before turning on the water, I did feel dizzy," Vega recounted. "Next thing I know, I was on the floor."

Vega went to the hospital where he tested positive for coronavirus, and x-rays revealed he had blood clots in his lungs. 

After a successful treatment aided by blood thinners, Vega is out of the hospital and recovering. He sent a message of prudence to other young people like himself who "start feeling sick."

"Please get checked out right away, because you never know," he said. 

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