Tiny, menacing microclumps may explain Long COVID symptoms

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Tiny, menacing microclumps may explain Long COVID symptoms

By Claire Sibonney
WebMD Health News

December 7, 2022 – When Hannah Davis saw the first visual confirmation of a long COVID in her blood – a fireworks-like display of fluorescent green dots against a black background – she was overcome with a strange sense of relief. In early November, she became one of the first US long-COVID patients to be tested for microscopic blood clots, catching up with South Africa, Germany, the UK and other countries already experimenting with similar treatments.

“It was an endorsement,” says Davis, who excitedly shared the pictures her clot on Twitter. “It’s basically the first test specific to long COVID that has promise and is scientifically sound, incorporating research from other post-viral diseases.”

Davis donated her blood at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City along with several other founding members of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative, all of whom were infected in the first wave of the pandemic and are still ill almost 3 years later. Upon seeing the images of her blood clots, Davis and her fellow patients wept what she called tears of joy. Then I realized I had these infamous blood clots.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency room physicians and other treating patients noted that the disease was at its worst excessive blood clots. The clots clogged kidney dialysis machines, causing strokes and killing patients long after they left the hospital. Some longtime COVID researchers have suggested that smaller, less obvious blood clots could be causing many of the puzzling symptoms reported by patients with lingering effects of the virus.

The theory goes that these weird and stubborn clots, called microclumps, may be blocking delicate blood vessels throughout the body, preventing oxygen from getting where it needs to go, causing it all shortness of breath and organ damage to brain fog and debilitating fatigue. But if all that havoc is being wreaked in those tiny clots, regular pathology testing won’t detect it. A network of specialists is now setting out to see if specialized testing is accessible and if the clots can be treated.


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Tiny, menacing microclumps may explain Long COVID symptoms
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