Recent reports of hypoxia causing low blood oxygen that can starve body systems seem to be connected to COVID-19 toes and blood clotting which can seriously affect patients.
Now, why should it be of concern for doctors and patients? One reason is that it seems to 'defy basic biology.' It means that low-blood oxygen condition exists, but the patient does not notice his alarmingly low oxygen level. Also, some conditions connected to it like COVID toes and blood clotting. Hypoxic is in more danger than other patients.
Reuben Strayer, an emergency physician says there is a keen difference if the patient is okay, but when hooked to a machine that is an altogether different situation. The doctor recovered from COVID-19 and noticed that it was happening in the emergency rooms.
Hypoxia and why it is hard to breathe for some patients
A normal person will feel different if their blood-oxygen levels get too low, and can be treated by doctors right away. However, in COVID-19 cases, some hypoxic are unable to sense their blood oxygen, which is not normal.
Even if anyone feels good with lungs functioning normally, a bug in the system is lessening the oxygenated blood. This is not positive as the less oxygen we get means less for our entire system, that might lead to fatal complications, according to Nicolas Caputo, an emergency physician at New York City Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.
Hypothesis about less oxygen in the blood
One of the signs to look out for is blood clotting of severe COVID-19 patients. Initially, the clotting starts at the lungs due to inflammation in blood vessels, setting off proteins that are fooled to cause blood clotting. This lessens the oxygen which the blood gets, without it many organs will lack oxygen to function well.
Elnara Marcia Negri, a pulmonologist, developed this conclusion when a female patient had breathing problems, as well as circulation problems in her toes. She gave patient Heparin, a blood thinner which cures her 'COVID toes and restored breathing as well.
She considered heparin to help increase oxygenation of the blood, whether the patient is having breathing difficulties or not. On April 20, she posted a preprint about heparin and 27 COVID-19 patients. Several dosages of heparin for hypoxia patients were checked, with increased dosage if needed when D-dimer showed too much blood clots.
One was transferred to another institution, 24 of the hypoxics are getting better, with six of eight who needed mechanical ventilation, a better result than expected. Two are in danger of dying, but the outcome is encouraging for the treatment of COVID-19 and also serious respiratory issues.
What the scientists have to say
Strayer thinks that it is caused by clotted blood vessels in the lung, another is looking for blood clot markers. There is NO clear connection if CLOTTING causes hypoxia, and the coronavirus is confounding everything.
Caputo suggests that hypoxia is the body starving the virus of oxygen. Another doctor Luciano Gattinoni said it might be a "Pavlovian response" to COVID-19 hypoxia. On April 24, Gattinoni in JAMA online remarked that inflating lungs on high-pressure ventilators can be dangerous, so non-invasive treatment is preferable.
There is a need to study hypoxia more to understand it. It seems there is a lot more to it than low blood oxygen, with other symptoms like COVID-toes and blood clotting to look out for.
Related article: Coronavirus Effects: How it Harms Human Body Organs