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Prescribed Blood Thinners for COVID-19 Patients Lower Hospitalizations and Reduce Mortality by Almost Half

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 07 Oct 2021
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A study has found that having a protocol to use blood thinners for COVID-19 patients reduces patient mortality by almost half.

To find ways to decrease clotting related to COVID-19, researchers from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN, USA) Basel University (Basel, Switzerland) looked at reducing hospitalizations by using prescribed blood thinners. Many individuals with COVID-19 develop abnormal blood clots from high inflammation, which can lead to serious health complications and mortality.

The study found that patients on blood thinners before having COVID-19 were admitted less often to the hospital, despite being older and having more chronic medical conditions than their peers. The findings revealed that blood thinners - regardless of if they are being used before being infected with COVID-19 or started when admitted to the hospital for treatment of COVID-19 - reduced deaths by almost half. The study also found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients benefitted from blood thinners regardless of the type or dose of the medication used.

Researchers note that the next steps for this work is to ensure that the results of this study are consistent and not isolated to the health care systems in advanced countries - like the US and Switzerland - or in certain populations, like Caucasians. They are currently working with research groups in other parts of the world, like Egypt, to look at how blood thinners impact patients in less-invested health care systems and in different patient populations.

“We know that COVID-19 causes blood clots that can kill patients,” said Sameh Hozayen, MD, MSC, an assistant professor of medicine at the U of M Medical School. “But, do blood thinners save lives in COVID-19? Blood thinners are medications prescribed to prevent blood clots in patients with a prior blood clot in their lungs or legs. They also prevent blood clots in the brain secondary to abnormal heart rhythms, like atrial fibrillation. Blood thinners are the standard of treatment in these diseases, which is why we looked at data to see if it impacted hospitalizations related to COVID-19.”

“Unfortunately, about half of patients who are being prescribed blood thinners for blood clots in their legs, lungs, abnormal heart rhythms or other reasons, do not take them. By increasing adherence for people already prescribed blood thinners, we can potentially reduce the bad effects of COVID-19,” Hozayen said.

Related Links:

University of Minnesota 
Basel University 

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