Covid-19 has thrown curveballs since it first appeared. New discoveries are still popping up.
Blood viscosity was just found to have a significant impact on survival in severely ill Covid patients. Estimated high-shear blood viscosity (eHSBV) was associated with 36.0% greater risk of death. Those in the highest quartile of eHSBV were more likely to be men, of Black or Hispanic race or ethnicity, have a history of diabetes, and require oxygen support at the time of presentation – populations with a high risk of death from Covid.
Study results supported a link between hyperviscosity and the immune-mediated blood clots of acute COVID-19 illness. The study did not directly measure Whole Blood Viscosity and instead relied on estimated Blood Viscosity (eBV) calculated from hematocrit, albumin, and total protein levels. These are inexpensive, routine blood tests.
The observational study included 5,621 COVID-19 patients hospitalized across six hospitals in the Mount Sinai Health System.
Heparin (a blood thinner) has already been shown to improve survival for hospitalized COVID-19 patients outside the ICU but since the blood viscosity-mortality correlation was just discovered the earlier study didn’t target people with high blood viscosity.
Since it’s so easy to calculate blood viscosity from common blood tests, doctors should do this as soon as any Covid patient enters the hospital. If they have highly viscous blood they can be immediately treated with heparin. That could save many lives at low cost.
Covid cases in the U.S. are rising again, 20% higher in the past 2 weeks.