Covid-19: thrombosis, pulmonary embolism ... study confirms "increased risk" of severe symptoms after infection

Covid-19: thrombosis, pulmonary embolism … study confirms “increased risk” of severe symptoms after infection


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In a study published this week, Swedish researchers looked at the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism after virus infection. This risk is present for up to 6 months after infection.

A SARS-CoV-2 infection is likely to have serious long-term consequences for the health of an infected person. According to a study published Wednesday, April 6 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Covid-19 increases the risk of developing severe blood clots up to six months after infection. La Dépêche du Midi takes stock of this new information.

What does this new study say?

It was already known that Covid-19 increased the risk of severe blood clots (known as venous thrombosis), but there was less information about how long this risk was increased and whether it varied during the different epidemic waves.

This Swedish study provides new data on this subject. It reveals an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the leg) up to three months after Covid-19 infection,pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) up to six months later and one hemorrhagic event up to two months later.

Which people are most at risk?

This risk is higher in patients with comorbidities and those with severe Covid-19. It was more pronounced during the first pandemic wave than the second and third waves, the study also notes. According to the researchers, the increased risks seen during the first wave compared to the next two could be explained by the subsequent improvements in treatment and vaccine coverage in older patients.

Is the infection more at risk than vaccination?

These risks of thrombosis are also known for vaccination against the virus. In a British study, published in August 2021 in the British Medical Journalresearchers say there is a “increased risk” to develop this side effect after receiving an injection of Covid vaccine, but that this risk was almost 200 times “lower than that associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection”.

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The scientists compared the medical data of 29 million people who received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNtech or Oxford-AstraZeneca.

What steps to take?

For researchers, these findings warrant action to prevent thrombotic events (such as the administration of treatments that prevent blood clots from forming in the blood vessels), especially for high-risk patients, and strengthen importance of vaccination against Covid-19.

What was the researchers’ method?

To conduct their study, researchers identified more than one million people in Sweden who were infected with SARS-Cov2 between February 1, 2020 and May 25, 2021, matched by age, sex, and place of residence to more than four millions of people who had not tested positive for Covid.

They then calculated rates of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and bleeding in people who had Covid-19 during a control period and made comparisons with a control group.

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