Heparin May Decrease Overall Time of Infection for Patients With COVID-19

The difference in COVID-19 infection time between patients receiving heparin and those who did not was approximately 4 days on average.

Patients with COVID-19 receiving the anticoagulant heparin had shorter infection times on average than patients who did not receive the drug, according to a study published in Cardiovascular Research. The difference in infection time between patients receiving heparin and those who did not was approximately 4 days on average.

"The coagulopathy observed in COVID-19 patients is novel and differs in many respects from previously known coagulation problems," said Alice Assinger, PhD, group leader at the Institute of Vascular Biology and Thrombosis Research at the Medical University of Vienna, in a press release. "COVID-19-associated coagulopathy displays characteristics that, although partially comparable with other coagulation diseases, cannot be fully explained by them."

COVID-19 affects not only the lungs, but several functional systems in the human body, including blood clotting. Patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 have an increased risk of thromboses and embolisms, such as strokes, pulmonary or myocardial infarctions, and deep vein thromboses. According to the investigators, using drugs to inhibit blood clotting has been part of the treatment guidelines for COVID-19 since July 2020.

"These complications during hospitalization have a direct impact on the well-being of patients and increased the risk of dying from COVID-19," said David Pereyra, MD, in the release.

The investigators conducted a multi-center analysis of patients with COVID-19 in Vienna, Linz, and Innsbruck. They observed that COVID-19-associated coagulopathy occurs almost exclusively in patients requiring intensive care or in patients who die of COVID-19.

Anticoagulants demonstrated an improvement to the survival of patients with COVID-19 but have not demonstrated any effect on immunological processes related to blood coagulation. However, the study did find that heparin, the most commonly used anticoagulant, decreased the period of active SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“These observations were made in the context of a close collaboration between the three hospitals involved—the Favoriten Hospital in Vienna, the Innsbruck Regional Hospital Innsbruck and the Johannes Kepler University Hospital in Linz—as well as through the active exchange between basic researchers and clinicians,” Assinger said in the release.

REFERENCE

Anticoagulant has beneficial side-effects for COVID-19 patients [news release]. EurekAlert; November 12, 2021. Accessed November 15, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/934745