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COVID-19 Severity In Patients With Haematological (Blood) Disease - Know What The Study Says

As of today, there are 29435 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India with 6869 recovered cases and 934 deaths. COVID-19 tends to become severe in patients who are old or have some pre-existing medical conditions. They are at higher risk of the diseases due to their lower immunity.

On the other hand, people with haematological diseases or diseases related to blood are also at a higher risk of the infection due to their highly compromised immune system up to varying extents. A study published in the Social Science Research Network journal discusses the analysis of patients infected with COVID-19 and have a particular blood-related disease. [1]

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About The Study

According to the study, 15 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases were involved in the study with age group between 14-68. Out of 15, 10 patients were male while the remaining 5 were female. All the 15 patients have one or the other haematological disease (HD) such as acute lymphoblastic, myeloid leukaemia, severe aplastic anaemia and multiple myeloma.

The data shows that seven patients were severely ill, seven were critically ill and the situation of the remaining one was moderate. Later, out of 15, 7 patients died while the remaining were discharged after proper evaluation.

Diagnostic Results

Before the admission of the 15 patients, they all had a fever. Also, eight of them have a cough, seven had tightness in the chest, five had diarrhoea and loss of appetite, two had blood-stained mucous in the cough and five has mental conditions. In the CT scan, they all had shown severe lesions in the lungs.

Treatment Method Carried Out

All the 15 patients received antiviral drugs such as ritonavir and oseltamivir. Further, 14 patients were given antifungal and antibiotic medications such as meropenem and cefoperazone. Supplementary treatment included steroid (in 3 cases) and Chinese medicine (Xuebijing) along with other immune-boosting decoctions.

What Result Says

COVID-19 is more contagious compared to previously occurred SARS. Patients with a blood disease have a defective immune system compared to healthy people. This makes them more prone to the COVID-19 virus and increases their mortality rate.

In the study, it was found that the seven patients who have died actually were critical cases of haematological disease. Out of the seven dead patients, five have bone-marrow suppression due to which their blood count had decreased more. One has acute leukopenia and the remaining one has graft versus host disease (a condition in which the donated bone marrow identifies the receiver's body as foreign material and attacks them). Their critical conditions overshadowed by COVID-19 virus made their body react poorly to the supportive care leading to their deaths.

Talking about the survivors, their body's capability to clear the virus was also weak due to a weaker immune system. It took around 5-21 days for the result to come negative of COVID-19 infected people with the haematological disease while in general, a healthy individual with COVID-19 positive takes 7-9.5 days.

What Was The Challenge?

During diagnosis, people with the haematological disease had shown abnormal blood count, mixed lung infections and pneumonia with additional severities like water in the lungs. These symptoms were more diverse than those found among the general population. This has made the diagnosis more difficult among such patients.

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To Conclude

Patients with a haematological disease are not only prone to COVID-19 but also to other coronaviruses and complications related to their conditions. Early identification of the infection followed by timely treatment may help save the patient.

Story first published: Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 19:00 [IST]
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