An international COVID-19 registry shows an increased rate of clotting in heart attack patients with COVID-19, according to data recently presented at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI) 2023 Scientific Sessions.
Clots were seen in multiple arteries in close to 30% of patients with COVID-19 at the time of an ST-elevated myocardial infarction, or STEMI, but in less than 5% of patients with STEMI who did not have COVID-19 at the time their heart attack.
A STEMI is one of the most severe types of heart attacks seen in cardiac patients, as it is caused by the sudden, complete blockage of a coronary artery. Previous research has shown the pre-COVID-19 mortality in STEMI patients was below 5%, but climbs to 20% to 25% in patients who have COVID-19 at the time of their heart attack.
Study involved 234 patients
The findings were based on angiography reports from 234 patients from 17 sites—12 in the United States and 5 in Canada. Researchers assessed a number of cardiac feature in the blinded analysis. The study intervention was the effect of percutaneous coronary intervention, a non-surgical procedure that opens blocked arteries.
"These new insights point to the need for clinicians to be meticulous with blood thinning strategies, early interventions, and patient follow-up," said Payam Dehghani, MD, FRCPC, FACC, FSCAI, co-director of the Prairie Vascular Research Inc and an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, in a society press release.
These new insights point to the need for clinicians to be meticulous with blood thinning strategies, early interventions, and patient follow-up.
The researchers said further investigation is needed to understand the relationship between COVID-19 and heart attacks. "COVID-19 is a pro-inflammatory, clot forming disease and we now see its effect in the coronary arteries," Dehghani said.