Covid -19 could have a significant impact on symptoms of excessive blood clotting that may not heal leading to extreme difficulties. It can even be life-threatening for many people being exposed to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) during the pandemic. Therefore, early diagnosis of DVT is critical, especially in Covid-19 patients.
Understanding Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Blood clotting is an important process which prevents excessive bleeding. Once the injury is healed, the clot dissolves on its own. However, in some cases, these clots do not heal on their own or start forming in other healthy parts of the body. This condition is known as Thrombosis. Thrombosis can also be categorized based on which part of the body clots are formed. If the clots are formed in the legs, it is called Deep Vein Thrombosis.
There are three major factors that can lead to clot formation namely, restricted or limited movement; damaged blood vessels, possibly caused by certain surgeries or pressure in the blood vessels; and disturbance in the pattern of the blood flow, which leads to stagnation of blood in the arteries or veins. Apart from these major risk’s factors, restricted movement, pregnancy, birth control pills, dehydration, increased age can also increase the risk of DVT.
Leading causes for increased risk of DVT among covid-19 patients is the inflammatory and procoagulant nature of the virus, the medications these patients are put on and restricted movement among quarantined patients and leading to higher rates of Covid-19 related thrombosis than any other conditions. According to research, blood clots while one gets infected with the virus may increase the chances of death by 74%. Unfortunately, many patients and their caregivers fail to realise that a delayed diagnosis of DVT is more lethal than covid-19 itself. In fact, many people do not realise that thrombosis manifests this infection.
Severe DVT may increase the threat to limb functions and in such cases, surgical intervention may be recommended to dissolve the clot by injecting thrombolytic medicine directly into the affected vein using a catheter. In other cases of DVT, the patient must be put on anticoagulation medication. There are various forms of anticoagulants available today, however, most of the patients are now put on new oral anticoagulant which has certain advantages like reliable results, fewer risks of bleeding and effective use of therapeutics. Having said that, compliance with medical advice is of utmost importance for effective management and treatment of DVT.
In addition to medical treatment, certain lifestyle changes also play a crucial role in the management of DVT. These changes include staying well hydrated, weight reduction, balanced diet, exercising regularly, quit smoking, and avoiding consumption of tobacco, and avoiding stress.
(Dr Tarun Grover is the Director of Peripheral Vascular & Endovascular Sciences at Medanta Medicity Gurgaon. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Outlook Magazine.)