Covid-19 Patient In TTSH Received Surgery After Blood Clot Complications

Covid-19 is still a very new disease and we don’t have full knowledge of what it really does to our bodies.

In a rare case, a Covid-19 patient in Singapore developed a blood clot in his artery, which then travelled to his right foot and caused gangrene.

However, he had no underlying illness.

Doctors at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) then acted after a scan, operating on him and saving his toes in the process.

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They told reporters about the process of saving the man’s life on Tuesday (13 Oct).

Covid-19 patient felt pain in right foot due to blood clot

39-year-old Bangladeshi delivery driver Ullah Kefayet was admitted to TTSH for shortness of breath and fever, but his condition worsened due to Covid-19.

It got to the point where he had to go to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for 4 days, with no way to contact his family in Bangladesh.

Image for illustration purposes.
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His family thought he’d died, Mr Kefayet told reporters.

But before he entered the ICU, doctors found odd symptoms — Mr Kefayet had pain in his right foot and 3 of his toes had gangrene.

TTSH doctors treat blood clot with stent

Doctors discovered through a scan that the blood clot originated in his aorta, which is the artery that carries blood from the heart to the body.

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Adjunct Assistant Glenn Tan, Head of General Surgery at TTSH, said that the aortic blood clot was “very rare”.

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), about 1 in 1,000 Covid-19 cases in Singapore had “cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and blood clots”.

This defies what we previously thought about Covid-19, which we thought was a simple respiratory illness.

Doctors, however, managed to operate on him quickly on 8 May – despite Covid-19 restrictions in place – and gave him a permanent aortic stent through his groin.

This helped get rid of the gangrene which had built up in his toes, and 3 months later, the black spots disappeared.

Patient couldn’t walk due to blood clot spreading

The gangrene caused Mr Kefayet to be unable to walk, and worse — the blood clot was spreading to his right leg, spleen, and kidneys.

If not for the operation, he could’ve lost his toes and even leg.

But doctors managed to find a non-invasive way to operate on him without exposing themselves to Covid-19.

Later, they published their findings in the British Journal of Surgery, which became the first publication to detail aortic blood clots in Covid-19 patients, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported.

Doctors still unsure as to why blood clots occur

Regardless of the findings, the “whys” of the blood clots are still unknown to doctors.

Dr Tan said that Covid-19 patients found with clots had developed antibodies, which causes “sticky” blood. This can cause blood clots to occur.

But the observations haven’t led to an answer so far.

Kudos to TTSH doctors

Kudos to the TTSH doctors who operated on Mr Kefayat — proving once again that we have a world-class healthcare system in Singapore.

Even despite the challenging circumstances, they found a way to operate quickly and save his toes.

Hopefully as we learn more about the disease, we’ll find out why these blood clots occur and take steps to prevent them.

It also means that keeping ourselves safe from Covid-19 is even more important. After all, even if younger people don’t suffer from such side effects, older people may develop complications.

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Featured image adapted from Glints and Medium.