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Known complications of COVID-19 illness include acute respiratory failure, pneumonia, and acute kidney failure, among others. Recent findings now indicate that people with COVID-19 are at higher risk of complications associated with thrombotic events.

Thrombotic events can occur when the procoagulant (clotting) forces and anticoagulant and fibrinolytic forces are disrupted. These events can affect multiple organ systems. Common manifestations of thrombotic dysfunction include deep venous thrombosis (blood clots in the legs) or pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), or disseminated intravascular coagulation (a systemic, life-threatening blood clotting disorder).

Reports from two hospitals in France indicate that pulmonary embolism occurred in 23 to 30 percent of critically ill COVID-19 patients – considerably higher than is commonly observed in critically ill patients without COVID-19. A single case report described thrombotic events that affected a patient’s lungs, brain, and kidneys. These findings suggest that early monitoring via imaging tests and treatment with anti-clotting factors is critical for COVID-19 patients.

Interestingly, omega-3 fatty acids might be useful as prophylactic measures against thrombotic events. Previous research indicates that omega-3 fatty acid intake of 4.7 grams or more per week from either fish or supplements reduced lower venous thromboembolism risk 22 to 26 percent and reduced pulmonary embolism risk 39 to 60 percent.

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