The study’s findings, which were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also showed that patients who were given anticoagulants were 30% less likely to need a ventilator for breathing support.
“Clearly, anticoagulation is associated with improved outcomes and bleeding rates appear to be low,” corresponding author Dr. Anu Lala, an assistant professor of medicine and the director of heart failure research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in a news release.
“As a clinician who has treated COVID-19 patients on the frontlines, I recognize the importance of having answers as to what the best treatment for these patients entails, and these results will inform the design of clinical trials to ultimately give concrete information.”
For the study, the team of researchers examined the electronic medical records of 4,389 confirmed coronavirus-positive patients admitted to five hospitals in the Mount Sinai Health System between March 1 and April 30.
Then they specifically looked at survival and death rates of patients who were placed on therapeutic and prophylactic doses of blood thinners versus those who weren’t.
High rates of bleeding, a common risk associated with taking anticoagulants, were also analyzed and they were found to be “surprisingly low with all patients,” with problems arising in only about 3% of the cases, the researchers noted.
Separately, the team looked at autopsy results of twenty-six coronavirus-infected patients and discovered that eleven of them, or 42%, showed signs of blood clots that were never suspected in a clinical setting.
The researchers concluded that these findings reveal that treatment with blood thinners might be highly beneficial in coronavirus patients to prevent potentially fatal blood clots.
“These observational analyses were done with the highest level of statistical rigor and provide exciting insights into the association of anticoagulation with critical in-hospital outcomes of mortality and intubation,” the study’s first author Dr. Girish Nadkarni said in a release.
“We are excited that results from this observational study in one of the largest and most diverse hospitalized populations have led to an ongoing trial of type, duration, and doses of anticoagulation. Ultimately, we hope this work will lead to improved outcomes and treatment for COVID-19 patients.”
There are now more than 24.3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, including at least 828,000 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.