Woman Infected With COVID-19 Has Three Fingers Amputated After The Virus Ravaged Her Blood Vessels

A Covid-infected woman had three fingers amputated after the disease ravaged her blood vessels. 


Gruesome pictures published in a medical journal showed how the unidentified 86-year-old's digits turned black.

Doctors in Italy, who had to cut off her gangrenous fingers, called her case a 'severe manifestation' of coronavirus. 

Covid has been found in many patients to cause severe damage to blood vessels, causing dangerous blockages known as blood clots.

While experts are unsure why the virus causes the blockages, the prevailing theory is that it is the result of an immune overreaction called a 'cytokine storm', which sees the body attack healthy tissue.

It is believed the Italian patient had suffered blood clots which cut off supply to her fingers.   

When the immune response goes into overdrive, it can damage healthy tissue. if blood vessels are affected they can leak, causing blood pressure to drop and driving up the chance of clots forming.  

The clots can become fatal if they migrate to major organs, like the lungs, and cut off their blood supply. 

The blockages can trigger heart attacks, strokes, organ failure, and pulmonary embolism if they migrate to major organs. 

While experts are unsure why the virus causes the blockages, there are three main theories: 

CYTOKINE STORM 

The prevailing theory is that it is the result of an immune overreaction called a 'cytokine storm'.  

Cytokines are chemical-signaling molecules that guide a healthy immune response. 

They tell immune cells to attack viral molecules in the body.

But in some people, this response goes into overdrive and immune cells start attacking healthy tissue as well, known as a cytokine storm. 

As blood vessels become damaged they can leak, causing blood pressure to drop and driving up the chance of clots forming.   

BYPRODUCT OF INFECTION 

Other scientists say the surge in strokes may be a byproduct of the way COVID-19 invades the human body. 

Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline: 'Covid binds to an enzyme called ACE2 which is on the surface of the cell.

'It simply uses it as a way of attaching itself but in doing so the enzyme function of ACE2 is reduced. 

'The consequence of this is an imbalance of hormones called Angiotensin I and Angiotensin II which together regulate blood pressure.

'It could be related to the increase in strokes reported.' 

VIRUS' UNIQUE SHAPE

Dr. Robert Bonow, a professor of cardiology at Northwestern University, said it may be the coronavirus' unique shape that is causing the blood-clotting issues.

He said the virus' spikes, which latch onto receptors in cells, can also attach to blood vessels. 

Once they dock onto these blood vessel cells, the viral particles can trigger damage to these as well as to heart muscle, Dr Bonow says. 

It is not the first time a Covid patient has needed their fingers amputated. 

A 54-year-old man from Studio City, California, had two fingers amputated as a result of extensive tissue and muscle damage after contracting Covid on a ski trip with a group of friends in northern Italy last February. 

Meanwhile, a father-of-two, from Cardiff, Wales, lost his left thumb, forefinger, and a half a finger last year after he contracted coronavirus and spent 61 days on a ventilator.

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