Health & Fitness

Exploring the COVID-19-Induced Venous Thromboembolism Risks and Its Management

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is nothing but the incidence of blood clotting in a vein, usually in the leg. It can also impact the lungs and blood circulation, triggering the issue of pulmonary embolism (PE). VTE can be life-threatening. So, essentially, there are two types of VTE – Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary embolism (PE). The condition of blood clotting in the leg’s deep veins indicates the occurrence of DVT, while lung and blood flow challenges due to blood clots stand for PE. Someone sufferings from this disease would commonly experience symptoms like swollen legs, tenderness in the legs, pain, breathing difficulty, inflammation in the leg, chest ache, etc.

Medical experts recommend that people seek immediate healthcare assistance if they notice any disease-related symptoms. Doctors can advise imaging, blood tests, physical examination, and others for diagnosis. Usually, they treat this condition with anticoagulants or blood thinners. These prevent the clotting from worsening. However, if this doesn’t work or seems unsuitable, you may have to undergo surgery.

It gives a view of what venous thromboembolism is. You also need to know that some studies have found that the COVID-19 virus can lead to VTE in a few cases. One of the observational research groups sourced details from the US Food and Drug Administration Sentinel System. They studied COVID-19 patients who were adults and had to face hospitalization between 2020 and 2021. According to them, the risk of venous thromboembolism among unvaccinated adults was more than 9.5%. The most vulnerable groups included someone with a medical history of VTE and those who needed intensive care, among others. One of the critical care research projects went deep into the matter, studying 102 reports of more than 64k patients. They discovered that COVID-led PE cases formed about 7.8% of cases and DVT about 11.2%.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, all types of studies have surrounded different aspects to understand the impact of the pandemic. One of the crucial insights by MyBioSource has been that nearly 45% of the surveyed groups in 2020 said that coronavirus was the country’s primary concern. It sounds legitimate when you hear about the health consequences associated with the infection, and VTE is just an example of this.

Signs of COVID-19-led venous thromboembolism

Swelling in the leg and venous distension are the two main symptoms. Venous distension is the incident of veins dilating due to high blood pressure. Due to this, one can notice blood collection in the veins, the development of blood clots (thrombosis), and fluid leakage from the veins into the neighboring tissues (edema). Venous distension is a severe problem, mainly when it affects the legs. You can face issues like pain, swelling, and soreness. Because there is a risk of contracting VTE from the virus infection, concerned COVID-19 patients (exposed to or affected by the virus) can talk to their community doctors to understand their risk factors. If they suspect anything, the pharmacists might recommend immediate medical assistance.

Diagnosis and treatment options

In the case of conventional VTE, doctors usually look at your medical records and perform physical tests. They focus on three parameters – Wells’ score of DVT/PE, imaging reports, and D-dimer test results. Do you wonder what D-dimer is? D-dimer is a small protein element produced by melting blood clots. D-dimer testing helps detect the absence of a blood clot. Negative test reports indicate the lack of blood clot issues and that there can be other causes for the symptoms. However, a positive report can be a warning of the disease, but it does not necessarily mean you have any active clot problem. D-dimer testing often happens with other tests, such as X-rays, for a proper diagnosis.

However, doctors may not recommend imaging to COVID-19 patients. Those at high risk of the thromboembolic disorder can get therapeutic anticoagulation treatment. When prescribing or administering these drugs, the health professionals consider the chances of drug interactions to eliminate hazards. Usually, they give unfractionated heparin (UFH) or LMWH to critically-ill cases because of the lower risks of drug interactions.

COVID-19 has been a catastrophic experience for everyone. The intensity of the pandemic-led health risks and disasters has slowed down considerably. Yet, the virus is still present and continues to rear its head. Vaccination, boosters, and other tools have been the critical saviors in this war. As the fall season is arriving, there is anticipation for another surge because of the lifestyle changes. Some people believe that vaccines don’t help or are somewhat effective. But studies show the efficacy of these tools in decreasing the impact of the virus on one’s health even after infection. The improvement in hospitalization and death rate can be another valid reason to consider this. So, if you want yourself and your loved ones to stay protected against it, do the needful.

Minimizing coronavirus infection risk or its severity is also at your disposal based on how you approach this.

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