Some people with COVID-19 develop abnormal blood clots, including in the smallest blood vessels. The clots may also form in multiple places in the body, including in the lungs. This unusual clotting may cause different complications, including organ damage, heart attack and stroke.
Researchers think the clotting may be triggered by the high levels of inflammation caused by the SARS-CoV-2 infection. A high level of inflammation can affect multiple organs and result in severe disease. In children and teens, this high inflammation is called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), and it can particularly affect the heart.
People who already have damage to the blood vessels from diabetes or high blood pressure may be at higher risk of developing blood clots. In addition, some chronic health conditions may impact how COVID-19 affects your body, including your blood vessels. These include:
Check CDC’s page on higher risk groups for more information on existing medical conditions and COVID-19.
NHLBI-funded research has helped us understand how inflammation and infection affect the blood.
The NHLBI is also supporting new research, including clinical trials that are focused on developing treatments for people infected with SARS-CoV-2.
We should all take steps to protect ourselves and others from infection by getting a COVID-19 vaccine, washing hands often, avoiding crowded places, wearing a mask, and staying at least 6 feet from other people. In addition, consider:
In addition, be sure to check these additional COVID-19 information sources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: