A small, preliminary case series led by physicians at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that five severely ill patients with the SARS-CoV-2 virus responded to the blood-clot-busting drug tPA when it was introduced as a life-saving measure. This response, and the large number of critically ill COVID-19 patients who have blood clots in their lungs, have raised new questions concerning the course of the disease and may present new possibilities for treating it.
“This case series pushes us to consider avenues of clinical investigation that are different from what they are now,” says the paper’s first author, Hooman D. Poor, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Pulmonology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, and Cardiology). “Perhaps we should be looking at the disease from the standpoint of clots that form in the blood vessels and travel to the lungs.”
Dr. Poor says that more testing will be needed to determine whether the clots are the “inciting events in a subset of patients,” and not a complication that develops after these patients develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). “ARDS looks the same, but it’s not,” he says. It requires “dramatically different treatments.”