Blood thinning drugs may help save some patients worst affected by the new coronavirus, doctors reported Wednesday.
Their findings could point a way to help the virus-related issue of blood clots throughout the body. The team at Mount Sinai Hospital says it is now running experiments to see which anticoagulants may work best, and at which doses.
“Our findings suggest that systemic anticoagulants may be associated with improved outcomes among patients hospitalized with Covid-19,” they wrote in their report, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Dr. Valentin Fuster, director of Mount Sinai Heart and physician-in-chief of the Mount Sinai Hospital, and colleagues looked at more than 2,700 patients treated at Mount Sinai in New York City, which has been hit hard by coronavirus. Starting in March, some patients were given anti-clotting drugs based on bedside decisions made by doctors.
The team started taking a systematic look at whether the drugs made a difference. They did, especially for patients who were put on ventilators to help them breathe.
They found 29% of patients on ventilators who were given blood thinners died, compared to 63% of patients on ventilators who were not given blood thinners.
“The patients who received anticoagulants did better than those who didn’t,” Fuster told CNN.
The findings are not clear-cut enough yet to make solid recommendations. The team noted that patients who were already severely ill were more likely to be given the blood thinners.
The researchers did not find that the patients who got blood thinners were significantly more likely to have bleeding problems – one of the risks of the drugs.