Abnormal levels of clotting factor V result in fatal blood clots, elevate risk of death in COVID-19 patients, study shows

Clotting factor V, also called the labile factor or proaccelerin, prevents abnormal clotting of blood.

Myupchar September 09, 2020 16:21:00 IST
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Abnormal levels of clotting factor V result in fatal blood clots, elevate risk of death in COVID-19 patients, study shows

A new visualisation of the COVID-19 virus. Image courtesy Fusion Medical Animation

COVID-19 has affected more than 27 million across the globe so far and the toll has crossed the mark of nine lakh. People with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer have been asked to take extra precautions as they are at an increased risk of suffering from severe symptoms and complications of COVID-19.

Doctors have reported that abnormal clotting of blood and cytokine storms are two of the most common reasons behind the death of COVID-19 patients. But now scientists have found another reason behind the severity of disease in some people.

A study published in the American Journal of Hematology showed that COVID-19 patients with increases levels of clotting factor V (5 in Roman) are more likely to suffer from severe complications.

Clotting factor V in COVID-19 patients

Clotting factor V, also called the labile factor or proaccelerin, prevents abnormal clotting of blood.

In March 2020, Dr Van Cott and his colleagues from the Massachusetts General Hospital, while collecting the blood sample of a critical patient of COVID-19, found that the patient had high levels of factor V in their blood.

After four days, the patient developed a large pulmonary embolism (blood clot) at the junction of the left and right arteries of the lungs. This finding pushed the scientists to study the activity of different clotting factors in COVID-19 patients.

Determining the effects of clotting factor V

For this study, the scientists examined the levels of clotting factor V, VIII and X and other parameters of 102 patients with COVID-19. The results of the study were compared with critically ill patients who did not have COVID-19 and with a group of controls.

The results of the study showed that the levels of factor V were significantly higher in patients with COVID-19 as compared to the control group and the group of critically ill non-COVID-19 patients.

The results further showed that of all the COVID-19 patients who had high factor V in their blood, 33 percent either suffered from deep vein thrombosis or from a pulmonary embolism. However, people with lower levels of factor V were more likely to die as they suffered from a DIC-like condition. DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation) is a fatal condition in which blood clots start developing in small vessels of the entire body.

Conclusion

With these findings, the scientists concluded that the abnormal levels of clotting factor V in critically-ill patients with COVID-19 can result in serious consequences. While the high levels of factor V are associated with the formation of abnormal blood clots in the body, low levels of factors V are associated with disseminated intravascular coagulation and death.

Doctors may need to monitor the levels of clotting factors closely so that they can be better equipped to deal with the complications that may follow.

For more information, read our article on Blood clotting disorders.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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