In a study published in the American Journal of Hematology, an elevated level of factor V was associated with worse outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Factor V is a protein in the blood that helps control clotting.
Patients with moderate or severe versions COVID-19 are known to experience blood clots in the organs of their bodies, from veins to lungs, kidneys and brains. In some cases, the clots can cause strokes, paralysis or other conditions and can even lead to the death of the patient.
After researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital noticed unusually high levels of factor V in a blood sample from a patient with severe COVID-19, they decided to check for levels of the protein among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit. A study of over 100 such patients revealed that over half had abnormally high levels of factor V. A search of hospital records revealed that over 1 in 10 of the COVID-19 ICU patients had higher factor V levels than ever had been seen before at the hospital.
One third of the COVID-19 patients with high levels of factor V had deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, compared with 13% of the COVID-19 patients who had lower levels of factor V. Deep vein thrombosis is a condition wherein blood clots form in veins deep within the body. Pulmonary embolism happens when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the lungs.
Oddly enough, the study also found that patients with lower levels of factor V had a higher risk of death. But according to the researchers, decreased factor V levels can indicate that the clotting processes in a patient have accelerated, a serious condition that can be fatal.
Stated coauthor Dr. Elizabeth Van Cott, a pathology investigator at Mass General and a pathology professor at Harvard Medical School:
“Aside from COVID-19, I’ve never seen anything else cause markedly elevated factor V, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years.”
According to the researchers, variances in factor V levels (as seen in the study) could help alert doctors as to which COVID-19 patients are most likely to develop blood clotting or to die.
Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.