Autopsy studies of coronavirus patients show that blood clots from the disease are found not only in the lungs but also in “almost every organ,” a New York University pathologist told CNN on Thursday.
Amy Rapkiewicz, NYU Langone Medical Center chair of the pathology department, described the new results her team published in The Lancet journal Clinical Medicine last month, as “dramatic”.
When the virus was first discovered, doctors thought COVID-19 was a respiratory disease such as pneumonia, but they have since learned that the virus can cause blood clots. These can lead to more serious problems such as stroke, kidney failure, heart inflammation and immune system complications, Business Insider̵
Doctors previously reported that excessive blood clots can occur in large blood vessels, as well as lungs, heart, brain and skin.
But the new study suggests that blood clots can also affect smaller blood vessels.
“And this was dramatic because we might have expected it in the lungs, but we found it in almost every body we looked at in our autopsy study,” she told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
The autopsy also showed the remarkable appearance of large bone marrow cells called megakaryocytes. Rapkiewicz said these cells “usually do not circulate outside the legs and lungs”.
“We found them in the heart and kidneys and liver and other organs,” she told CNN. “Especially in the heart, megakaryocytes produce something called platelets that are intimately involved in blood coagulation.”
According to CNN, researchers plan to determine the association between the large bone marrow cells and the coronavirus’s small blood vessel coagulation.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
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