New Orleans doctors learning more about complications associated with Covid-19 infection

Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 4:43 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans doctors are learning more about the devastating consequences of Covid-19.

“Blood clots are a big problem in this disease,” said Richard Vander Heide,M.D., with LSU Health Pathology.

Vander Heide and his team at LSU Health are studying how the virus affects the body, and they’ve discovered, through autopsies, clotting is a significant component.

“In fact, we’re just in the process of writing up that study, we found some very interesting things in the brain as well in the heart and other organs. We’re seeing, we think, is something called inflammation of the blood vessels and once the blood vessels become inflamed, they are more likely to produce clots,” Vander Heide said.

He adds it’s possible clotting problems could be contributing to prolonged symptoms following Covid infection. Those patients are referred to as long haulers.

“Some of the long hauler symptoms that we are hearing about are brain fog and some fatigue and shortness of breath and heart palpitations. We really aren’t clear yet what those are but it is certainly possible some of that could be related to ongoing clotting abnormalities,” said Vander Heide.

Just this week, Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died from complications related to Covid-19. He was only 41 and reportedly didn’t have any underlying health conditions. Dr. Fred Lopez didn’t treat Letlow but says his death is a stark reminder of just how severe the illness can be.

“It also reminds us how little we know about this virus, here we are a year later and when we first started hearing about cases and we still don’t know why some people suffer more severe outcomes from this illness than others,” said Lopez M.D., with LSU Health Infectious Diseases. “Is there some genetic disposition to more severe outcomes in some individuals than others? Was the amount of virus that somebody was exposed to impact their outcome.”

Both doctors we spoke with agree Covid is a dangerous and unpredictable disease. And, they encourage everyone to remain vigilant with safety measures like mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing.

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