COVID-19 patients at higher risk of deadly blood clots in surgery, study finds

People with COVID-19 are at a much higher risk of developing dangerous blood clots during surgery.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a condition in which dangerous blood clots form in the veins and has been described as the number one preventable cause of death in hospitalised patients.

A recent global study, which involved 43 Australian hospitals, found that COVID-19 patients were 50 per cent more likely to develop them while in surgery.

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VTEs were also found to be twice as likely to develop in patients who had a recent COVID-19 infection.

The study collected data from 140,000 patients who underwent surgery in October 2020, including more than 5000 from Australia and New Zealand.

VTEs are linked to a five-fold increased risk of death within 30 days following surgery compared to patients with no VTE.

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Without developing VTE, post-surgery death only took place for 7.4 per cent of COVID-19 patients.

That number rose to 40.8 per cent for COVID-19 patients who did develop VTEs.

"People undergoing surgery are already at higher risk of VTE than the general public, but we discovered that a current or recent SARSCoV-2 infection was associated with greater risk of postoperative VTE," Australian study lead Dr Daniel Cox said.

"This adds to our previous work that has found that people with SARS-CoV-2 infection have higher rates of perioperative mortality and morbidity and receive even greater benefit from vaccination."

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