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Blood clots, skin lesions identified among possible COVID-19 symptoms

Blood clots, skin lesions identified among possible COVID-19 symptoms
A patient is moved out of Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility in Hayward, Calif., on April 9. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

April 30 (UPI) -- Blood clots, skin rashes and other lesions might be among the symptoms some people experience with COVID-19, according to new research released Thursday.

None of the reports characterize how common the symptoms are with the disease, which is caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added six new symptoms to its list for the virus last week -- chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. Skin problems and blood clotting weren't among them.

In a study published in the British Journal of Hematology, researchers from Ireland observed that patients admitted to the hospital with severe COVID-19 infection are experiencing abnormal blood clotting. In some cases, the clotting played a role in the death of these patients, they reported.

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The study, performed by the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and St James's Hospital, Dublin, found that abnormal blood clotting in severe COVID-19 causes micro-clots within the lungs.

They also determined that Irish patients with higher levels of blood clotting activity had a significantly worse prognosis and were more likely to require intensive care unit treatment.

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"In addition to pneumonia affecting the small air sacs within the lungs, we are also finding hundreds of small blood clots throughout the lungs," Dr. James O'Donnell, Director of the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology and a hematologist at St. James's Hospital, Dublin, said in a press release.

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"This scenario is not seen with other types of lung infection, and explains why blood oxygen levels fall dramatically in severe COVID-19 infection," O'Donnell said. "Understanding how these micro-clots are being formed within the lung is critical so that we can develop more effective treatments for our patients, particularly those in high-risk groups."

Evidence also suggests that the abnormal blood clotting leads to a significantly increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. Additional research is needed, however, to determine whether blood thinning treatments are needed in selected high-risk patients, O'Donnell said.

Meanwhile, researchers in Spain on Thursday reported on the case of a 48-year-old Madrid man who developed a severe skin rash on his posterior, lower abdomen and thighs, along with other COVID-19 symptoms. Their findings were published by JAMA Dermatology.

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Although reports exist about blue skin lesions on the toes of some people diagnosed with the disease, typically in children, the report from Spain is the first to document extensive rashes.

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A small study in Italy, published last month in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, did, however, find that some 20 percent of COVID-19 patients develop skin rashes or lesions.

Another case report published Thursday by JAMA Dermatology documents skin lesions on an elderly woman with the virus. However, the patient in this case had other problems -- including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease -- and the authors indicated that they weren't sure COVID19 caused her lesions.

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