Autopsies of coronavirus patients reveal a “dramatic” rise in the amount of blood clots in the blood vessels and organs of the victims.
Dr. Amy Rapkiewicz, the chairman of the department of pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, conducted the study and described how in earlier stages of the pandemic, doctors were finding blood clots "in lines and various large vessels.”
But in her study, published in The Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine, the autopsies showed more widespread damage to the body.
"The clotting was not only in the large vessels but also in the smaller vessels,” Rapkiewicz told CNN.
"And this was dramatic, because though we might have expected it in the lungs, we found it in almost every organ that we looked at in our autopsy study."
The autopsies also revealed the existence of large bone marrow cells called megakaryocytes, which usually aren’t found outside the bone and lungs, had circulated throughout the body.
“We found them in the heart and the kidneys and the liver and other organs,” said Rapkiewicz. “Notably in the heart, megakaryocytes produce something called platelets that are intimately involved in blood clotting.”
Another interesting discovery from the autopsies is that myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart, was only seen in a small fraction of the patients. Doctors had previously believed the novel virus would provoke an inflammation of the heart.
Scientists are also warning of a potential wave of brain damage that appears to be linked to COVID-19.
A recent study showed evidence suggesting COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including delirium, psychosis, and inflammation.
The experts said more studies will be "essential" to fully understand the potential long-term neurological effects of the novel virus.