University Of Pittsburgh Researchers Find Blood Thinners Decrease Need For Life Support In COVID-19 Patients

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh helped coordinate a worldwide set of clinical trials that found blood thinner medications for hospitalized COVID-19 patients reduced the need for vital organ support treatments such as ventilation, according to a report from PittWire.

The study spanned five continents in more than 300 hospitals, testing whether there was a benefit to administering a full dose of heparin, a blood thinner medication, to treat adults hospitalized with COVID-19. Those administered the drug was “moderately ill” which is described as patients not in intensive care or did not receive organ support such as mechanical ventilation.

Interim results showed that of more than 1,000 moderately ill patients, full does of blood thinners were superior to the doses normally administered to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients.

“Prior to this study, the standard of care for a patient who would come into the hospital with COVID-19 would be to receive a low dose of blood thinner to prevent blood clot formation,” said Matthew Neal, Pitt physician-scientist. “What this study shows is that when we give higher doses of blood thinners to patients who are not already critically ill, it is beneficial and should become standard of care.”

Trial investigators are now working to make the full results of the study available as a resource for clinicians to make an informed decision on how to treat COVID-19 patients.

“In the midst of the pandemic and surges where we are constantly petrified of meeting a challenge of ICU capacity or running short of resources, an intervention that reduces the need for organ support by even just a single day? Magnify that across the scale of pandemic and the number of patients hospitalized, the impact of this stands to be profound,” Neal added.

While the study suggested that there could a possible reduction of death in the patients that received the blood thinner medication, the trend still requires further study.

Meanwhile, the results complement the group’s findings that routine use of blood thinner medication in ICU patients that are critically ill with COVID-19 was not beneficial and could even have been harmful.