Pathologist found blood clots in ‘almost every organ’ during autopsies on COVID-19 patients


Autopsies on coronavirus victims are helping doctors understand how the disease affects the body, and a pathologist says one of the most remarkable findings involves blood clots.

Dr. Amy Rapkiewicz, the chairman of the Department of Pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, published her study at the end of June in The Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine.

Doctors had found clotting in major blood vessels in the early days of the pandemic, but autopsies found the clotting extended into the tiny vessels throughout the body.

“And this was dramatic,” Rapkiewicz told CNN, “because though we might have expected it in the lungs, we found it in almost every organ that we looked at in our autopsy study,” 

The autopsies also showed something unusual about megakaryocytes, which are large bone marrow cells that don’t usually circulate outside the bones and lungs.

“We found them in the heart and the kidneys and the liver and other organs,” Rapkiewicz said. “Notably in the heart, megakaryocytes produce something called platelets that are intimately involved in blood clotting.”

“I could not remember a case before where we saw that,” Rapkiewicz told the Washington Post. “It was remarkable they were in the heart.”

She and other researchers hope to discover how these cells influence small vessel clotting in COVID-19.

Rapkiewicz told CNN that one of the “opportunities — if there is one to count in the virus” is that pathologists have had a chance to examine the organs of many COVID-19 victims and investigate the disease processes, something that really wasn’t available with H1N1 or the original SARS outbreak.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Coronavirus COVID-19 videos

Biden slams Trump for 'knowingly' lying on COVID

McEnany: Trump 'never lied' to the public on COVID

Trump bemoans virus restrictions in North Carolina

University of Tennessee relocating Massey Hall residents to make room for COVID-19 self-isolation cases

Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County reports 100 new cases, 157 new inactive cases

Knox County Health Dept. says plan in place for vaccine distribution

UT Chancellor: Some dodging COVID-19 precautions

Two Tennessee women participating in a COVID-19 vaccine study

Tennessee teachers asking for more safety measures

State launching COVID-19 schools dashboard

Knox County Health Dept.: Numbers reflect new timeframe for inactive cases

Clinton High School cancels next 2 weeks of games due to virus

UT chancellor: Fraternities trying to avoid COVID-19 precautions

Trending Stories

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter