Pitt Researchers Discover How Blood Thinners Improve COVID Patients
In the early results of a worldwide trial, a full dose of blood thinners was beneficial and safe for moderately ill patients with COVID-19.
A worldwide set of clinical trials co-led by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that a full dose of blood thinners given to hospitalized COVID-19 patients greatly decreased their need for vital organ support.
Early results of the trial showed that a full dose of heparin, a blood thinner, was not only safe but more effective than the standard dose given to prevent blood clots in COVID-19 patients. The study was conducted on more than 1,000 “moderately ill” patients who did not require intensive care or organ support, such as ventilation when enrolled in the trial.
“Prior to this study, the standard of care for a patient who would come into the hospital with COVID-19 would be to receive a low dose of blood thinner to prevent blood clot formation,” says Pitt’s Dr. Matthew D. Neal, co-leader of the worldwide set of trials. “What this study shows is that when we give higher doses of blood thinners to patients who are not already critically ill, it is beneficial and should become standard of care.”
Trial investigators are working to make the full results of the study available so clinicians can adopt the treatment and begin reducing the burden on intensive care units.
“In the midst of the pandemic and surges where we are constantly petrified of meeting a challenge of ICU capacity or running short of resources, an intervention that reduces the need for organ support by even just a single day? Magnify that across the scale of pandemic and the number of patients hospitalized—the impact of this stands to be profound,” says Neal.
According to the Pittwire report, these results complement the researcher’s findings that routine use of full-dose blood thinners with critically ill COVID-19 patients in the ICU was ineffective and possibly harmful.