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COVID-19 increases the risk of blood clots up to 6 months after infection | Coronavirus

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Previous studies had indicated that an infection increased this risk, but it was not yet clear how long this risk remained and whether a mild infection also increased the risk.

The Swedish researchers (New window) calculated the rates of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and bleeding among more than one million infected people and among 4 million uninfected people (control group).

Study finds increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the leg) up to three months after COVID-19 infection, pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) up to six months after, and a bleeding event up to two months later.

A COVID-19 infection increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis 5-fold and the risk of developing life-threatening lung blood clots 33-fold within 30 days of infection.

Risks are highest in patients with severe disease and those with comorbidity, but even those with mild COVID-19 had a three-fold increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis and seven times higher for a pulmonary embolism. The risks of a bleeding event were not higher among people with mild symptoms.

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The risk appears to have been higher during the first pandemic wave compared to the second and third waves. Vaccination may have reduced the risk in recent waves, the study authors believe. However, the study was carried out by analyzing the cases of people infected between February 2020 and May 2021, so it is not possible to conclude whether this risk is as high for the Omicron variant.

An editorial in the British Medical Journal (New window) believes that this Swedish study could help explain why the number of cases and deaths from blood clots has doubled in England since the start of the pandemic. It is added that the long-term impacts of COVID-19 must be taken into greater consideration by the authorities.

Despite the potential for concerning new variants, most governments are lifting restrictions and focusing on how to “live with the virus”. The study by Katsoularis and colleagues reminds us of the need to remain vigilant for complications associated with SARS-CoV-2 infections, including thromboembolic disease.

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The study authors say that vaccination can reduce the risk not only of infection, but of serious symptoms, and in addition, reduce the risk of clots and deep vein thrombosis.

Last August, a British study showed that the risk of developing venous thrombosis (phlebitis) is almost 200 times higher by catching COVID-19 than by being vaccinated with AstraZeneca. In addition, people infected with the virus are 11 times more likely to be prone to a stroke than those who are vaccinated.

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