DUBLIN — A new study led by researchers from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland said that patients with long Covid-19 syndrome continue to have higher measures of blood clotting.

This new study on the relation between Covid-19 and blood clotting may help explain their persistent symptoms, such as reduced physical fitness and fatigue.

“Persistent symptoms including breathlessness, fatigue and decreased exercise tolerance have been reported in patients after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection,” states the study.

“The biological mechanisms underlying this ‘Long Covid’ syndrome remain unknown. However, autopsy studies have highlighted the key roles played by pulmonary endotheliopathy and microvascular immunothrombosis in acute Covid-19.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Previous work by the same group studied the dangerous clotting observed in patients with severe acute Covid-19.

However, far less is known about long Covid-19 syndrome. Symptoms can last weeks to months after the initial infection has resolved and are estimated to affect millions worldwide.

The researchers examined 50 patients with symptoms of long Covid-19 syndrome to better understand if abnormal blood clotting is involved.

They discovered that clotting markers were significantly elevated in the blood of patients with long Covid-19 syndrome compared with healthy controls.

These clotting markers were higher in patients who required hospitalization with their initial Covid-19 infection. However, they also found that even those who could manage their illness at home still had persistently high clotting markers.

The researchers observed that higher clotting was directly related to other symptoms of long Covid-19 syndrome, such as reduced physical fitness and fatigue.

Even though markers of inflammation had all returned to normal levels, this increased clotting potential was still present in long Covid-19 patients.

“Because clotting markers were elevated while inflammation markers had returned to normal, our results suggest that the clotting system may be involved in the root cause of long Covid-19 syndrome,” said Helen Fogarty, the study’s lead author.

This work was funded by the Welcome Trust, the Health Research Board Irish Clinical Academic Training program, and the Health Research Board-funded Irish Covid-19 Vasculopathy Study.

The work was also supported by a philanthropic grant from the 3M Foundation to Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University of Medicine and Health Sciences, supporting Covid-19 research.

“Understanding the root cause of a disease is the first step toward developing effective treatments,” said James O’Donnell, Director of the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Consultant Haematologist in the National Coagulation Centre in St James’s Hospital, Dublin.

“Millions of people are already dealing with the symptoms of long Covid-19 syndrome, and more people will develop long Covid-19 as the infections among the unvaccinated continue to occur. It is imperative that we continue to study this condition and develop effective treatments.”

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari

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