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Autopsies reveal blood clots in organs of COVID-19 patients

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DOCTORS are currently working to understand how the coronavirus disease affects the body using autopsies conducted on people who died of coronavirus.

  Chairman of the department of pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, Dr. Amy Rapkiewicz, who made this known to journalists on Thursday, stated that one of the most remarkable findings concerned blood clotting.

  Rapkiewicz disclosed that some COVID-19 patients are known to develop blood clotting issues, but  described the degree and the extent to which that occurs as “dramatic” .

  According to her, in the early stages of the pandemic, bedside clinicians noticed a lot of blood clotting “in lines and various large vessels.

  “What we saw at autopsy was sort of an extension of that. The clotting was not only in the large vessels but also in the smaller vessels. And this was dramatic, because though we might have expected it in the lungs, we found it in almost every organ that we looked at in our autopsy study.”

  The study outlining the findings was published at the in The Lancet journal EClinical Medicine at the  end of June. The autopsies also showed something unusual about megakaryocytes or large bone marrow cells.

  She said they usually don’t circulate outside the bones and lungs. “We found them in the heart and the kidneys and the liver and other organs. Notably in the heart, megakaryocytes produce something called platelets that are intimately involved in blood clotting.

   Researchers hope to discover how these cells influence small vessel clotting in COVID-19. Pathologists have been surprised by something they didn’t find. During early stages of the pandemic, doctors thought the virus would provoke inflammation in the heart with myocarditis. But autopsies have found a very low incident of myocarditis”.

 “Opportunities – if there is one to count in the virus” is that pathologists have had a chance to examine the organs of many COVID-19 victims and investigate the disease processes that take place.

  She said that opportunity really wasn’t available with H1N1 or the original SARS outbreak.

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