Surgical patients who have recently had COVID-19 are more likely to develop potentially fatal post-operative blood clots, a new global study reveals.
Researchers discovered that patients diagnosed with current or previous Covid-19 virus are more likely to develop postoperative venous thromboembolism (VTE) than those with no history of COVID infection.
Patients hospitalised with COVID-19 have previously been shown to have a high risk of VTE – between 9 percent and 26 percent despite the use of preventative drugs, and as high as 31 percent in patients within critical care settings.
Led by experts at the University of Birmingham, surgeons and anaesthetists from around the world worked together as part of the NIHR-funded COVIDSurg Collaborative to analyse data from 128,013 patients in 1,630 hospitals across 115 countries. The team published its findings in Anaesthesia.
The research team is calling for surgeons around the world to be on the lookout for VTE – following routine measures to help prevent the condition occurring, such as using appropriate drugs when bleeding risk is minimal and lowering the threshold for diagnostic testing in patients presenting with signs of VTE.
Routine postoperative care of surgical patients should include interventions to reduce VTE risk in general, and further research is needed to define the optimal protocols for VTE prevention and treatment for surgical patients in the setting of Covid-19 infection.