By Samuel P. Martin, MD, FACS Founder & Medical Director
Coronavirus COVID-19 (coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)) is usually manifested as an acute respiratory syndrome. The damage can extend beyond the lungs, hijacking the body from head to toe and wreaking havoc on many organs.
How COVID-19 Affects the Body
According to the article: May 8, 2020 Wall Street Journal, doctors are learning the damage from COVID-19 can extend well beyond the lungs, where infection can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The disease can also affect the brain, kidneys, heart, vascular and digestive systems. Some patients have strokes, pulmonary emboli or heart-attack symptoms. Others can develop kidney failure or inflammation of the gut. Infection can affect the nervous system, causing seizures, hallucinations or a loss of smell and taste.The inflammation seen in many complications is starting to come into focus. Immune-system cells rush in to kill infected cells. They release molecules known as cytokines which result in inflammation known as “cytokine storm”. Inflammation in the lungs can interfere with oxygenation of blood which can affect other organs. Inflammation of the heart muscle is known as myocarditis and can cause chest pain, shortness of breath and heart-rhythm disorders and can cause the heart muscle to not pump effectively.
SARS-CoV-2 replicates rapidly in the lung, damaging tiny air sacs (alveoli). White cells set off an inflammatory response against the infection, but too much inflammation can damage the lung cells and blood vessels. In blood vessels, inflammation can activate proteins that form blood clots.
Clots in large blood vessels can lead to stroke or pulmonary emboli. Microclots can make it hard for lungs to oxygenate blood; less oxygen can lead to multi-organ-system failure.
Some patients suffer heart-lining inflammation, heart attacks or abnormal heart rhythms.
Among the most worrisome complications is the propensity to clotting in some Covid-19 patients. “Every time you have hyper-inflammation, you’re more prone to clotting,” said Andre Goy, a hematology oncologist and chair of the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. “This is not new…but what’s amazing is the extent of it.”
Patients are presenting not just with large clots which can cause strokes and pulmonary emboli, but also a constellation of small clots that block blood flow through the tiny blood vessels, known as arterioles and capillaries, and these can affect organs throughout the body. Some suffer from “Covid toe,” a painful, purplish swelling caused by clots in small blood vessels.
The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis now recommends that any patient admitted to the hospital be evaluated for the risk of clotting and if found anticoagulants like heparin are administered, according to Jeffrey Weitz, the organization’s president-elect. Thrombosis is the medical term for blood clots forming in blood vessels.
VVC COVID-19 UPDATE
We encourage all of our patients to follow CDC guidelines with regard to face coverings. Those recommendations include wearing a face covering whenever in public places. A face covering is defined as any cloth material which covers the nose and mouth of an individual. The CDC recommendation as well as instructions for DIY face coverings can be found at this link - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.
Our Safety and Disinfecting Precautions
To keep both you and our staff safe, we have implemented extra safety measures:
- Screening Questions: We will ask you a few questions to ensure the safety of you and our staff members before your encounter.
- Reduced Waiting Room Time: You'll go from your car to an exam room with little wait time.
- Increased Disinfecting: Throughout the day, we are constantly disinfecting our common areas and high-touchpoint areas.
- Revised Visitor Policy: At this time, it is best for everyone's safety that we do not allow non-patient visitors in our offices. (Exceptions allowed for patients who need assistance.)
TELEHEALTH Appointments Available
For specific appointment types, we are now offering TELEHEALTH; appointments accomplished via telephone or video conferencing. Make sure to ask when you call so we can accommodate you.
At this time, we are only allowing a patient visitor for physical or emotional needs. In some cases, we may ask the patient or visitor to wait outside during the patient appointment. Visitors are required to answer screening questions upon entry.
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If you have a fever greater than 100.4 or symptoms of a respiratory illness, please call us to reschedule your appointment:
Toll free: (877) 244-8558
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For most recent updates:
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FLORIDA'S COVID-19 DATA & SURVEILLANCE DASHBOARD
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION