NHS class research into COVID-19 patients suffering fatal blood clots as 'low priority'

Since the coronavirus crisis hit the UK there has been mounting evidence to suggest that COVID-19 patients are at heightened risk of developing potentially fatal blood clots. However, NHS England has classed research into this as "low priority" according to the Medical director at Thrombosis UK.

Research has found that one of the complications of COVID-19 appears to be an increase in the "stickiness" of a person’s blood. When a person's blood becomes sticky, this increases their risk of a blood clot. This means some people are surviving COVID-19 only to then succumb to thrombosis which could be fatal.

Professor Beverley Hunt OBE, Medical Director at Thrombosis UK Chair of the World Thrombosis Day Steering Committee spoke to Express.co.uk about the risks of suffering such a disease.

Professor Hunt has also been working at a major London hospital and has seen first-hand how patients in critical care can end up developing thrombosis.

She said: "The ones that we are seeing have severe COVID, which means they get the COVID pneumonia and they end up in hospital because they're short of oxygen.

"These patients have the most incredible inflammatory reactions there the immune system is reacting to the infection and producing lots of inflammatory cells, and they're producing a lot of chemicals which are telling the liver to produce more clotting factors, so the blood is very very sticky.

"And we've always known it's not new, if you've got a lot of inflammation you get very sticky blood.

"But the thing about COVID is we're looking at it and we're seeing these incredibly high levels of clotting proteins that I haven't really seen before in any disease... NHS England is probably the best place in the world as far as preventing blood clots, the charity have a lot to do with this, but even with the blood thinners were giving was still seeing quite a lot of clots."

Thrombosis in coronavirus patients is no rarity, as Professor Hunt describes seeing wards full of COVID-19 sufferers who also have developed blood thrombosis due to the inflamation of the lungs.

She added: "It became very obvious with lots of wards full of COVID patients with COVID that thrombosis is a problem.

"The other issue is that the in the lungs there's a lot of inflammation and we know that if you've got all that inflammation, there will be points where there's loss of blood supply. So we're seeing that as well."

The thrombosis expert also reported seeing higher rates of other diseases in coronavirus patients.

"We're also seeing higher rates of heart attack and stroke because the blood is so sticky," said Prof. Hunt.

"We know if people have these infections they have higher rates of heart attacks and strokes afterwards and part of it is due to coronavirus."

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