The Washington Post reported that the results of the analysis, conducted over 2,733 patients, were published Wednesday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
In an interview with the newspaper, Valentin Fuster, a consultant at Mount Sinai Hospital and one of the study’s authors, said the observations were based solely on a review of medical records and that more rigorous and randomized studies are needed to draw wider conclusions.
But the results have been promising, he said.
“My opinion is cautious, but I must tell you that I think this will help. This is the opening of the door to what drugs to use and what questions to answer,” the doctor further said.
Since March, when the coronavirus hit Europe and The United States, doctors have reported mysterious blood clots, which may be gel-like or even semi-solid, in a significant subgroup of coronavirus patients. Autopsies of patients who died of respiratory arrest have shown that some had unusual microcoagules in their lungs rather than the expected typical injury.
Last month, doctors in the New England Journal of Medicine reported on five unusual cases of positives with Covid-19 in their 30s and 40s with major strokes.
The study at Mount Sinai focused on hospitalized patients being treated from March 14 to April 11. Among patients, those who were not on respirators and treated with blood thinners died at similar rates compared to those who did not receive blood thinners. But the group of patients who received blood thinners lived longer – a median of 21 days compared to 14 days, the study says.
For patients on respirators, the difference was more significant. About 63 percent of patients who did not receive the medication died compared to 29 percent who received treatment.
Another critical finding of the study was that it was relatively safe to provide blood thinners to these patients. There was no significant difference in the most dangerous side effect of anticoagulants – bleeding – in those who were on drugs and those who were not.
Fuster said that as a result of the analysis, the hospital’s system changed its treatment protocols several days ago to begin providing higher doses of blood thinners to those patients infected with Covid-19.
Deepak Bhatt, a Harvard Medical School professor who specializes in cardiology of intervention, called the paper “a very important study” of the blood problems of COVID-19 patients, which have developed from just a suspicion to a well-known complication of the virus. “What we are counting on now is what do we do now when we know in terms of treatments,” he said.
A number of medical companies, including the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis and the American Society of Hematology, have drafted guidelines recommending the use of blood thinners for some Covid-19 patients, but the advice has taken a conservative approach.
“It’s a delicate balance between coagulation and bleeding, especially when patients are as sick as some of those with Covid-19,” said Geoffrey Barnes, a University of Michigan assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine .
“A week ago, we made some educated guesses on how to prevent blood clots. This is the first time we’ve seen data that says higher doses can possibly be effective and safe,” he was quoted as saying.
Doctors caring for the sickest coronavirus patients are facing a limited arsenal of treatments. On May 1, the Food and Drug Administration issued a permit for emergency use to antiviral drug remdesivir in patients who are hospitalized and seriously ill.
But try other treatments, including those involved hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by U.S. President Donald Trump, has been halted due to ineffectiveness and concern over toxicity.
In late April, scientists also reported that an arthritis drug manufactured by Regeneron and Sanofi that had drawn investor enthusiasm early on had disappointing results in clinical trials, according to The Washington Post.