Medical Consensus on Blood Clotting Abnormalities in COVID-10 Patients
Parliamentary Question, 5 June 2020
Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Health (a) whether there is a medical consensus on the blood clotting abnormalities seen with COVID-19 patients; (b) whether the Ministry is looking at overseas data to guide Singapore; © what measures are being taken in the dormitories to detect blood clots early; (d) what support is given to conduct research on this growing concern; and (e) whether the Ministry will give priority to fast-track such research.
Mr Gan Kim Yong: I thank the Member for the question, which has been addressed to a similar question filed by Mr Leon Perera on 4 June 2020.
Here’s the response to Mr. Perera’s question and response:
Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for Health to what extent are patients with COVID-19 experiencing above-average rates of blood clots and heart disease, as some research suggest is being seen amongst COVID-19 patients globally.
Mr Gan Kim Yong: The Ministry of Health has been monitoring the emerging data globally on the increased risks of blood clots and heart disease in COVID-19 patients. MOH issued an advisory to all doctors on 20 May 2020 to highlight the emerging data on these risks, to advise them to be watchful for cardiovascular symptoms in COVID-19 patients, and to provide guidance on the evaluation and management of such patients.
Among our local cases so far, about one in 1000 experienced cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and blood clots. Due to the small numbers, we are unable to definitively conclude whether this is higher than average compared to non-COVID patients here in Singapore. This is an ongoing area of research and MOH will continue to support studies on this issue.
From international data, we know that patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit are at higher risk, as they are immobile for prolonged periods and may have multiple co-morbidities. For such cases, our doctors take extra precautions, such as monitoring their coagulation status or the propensity for the blood to clot closely. In some cases, anti-coagulants are used to prevent blood clot formation. However, use of anti-coagulants must be weighed against the risk of bleeding, and our doctors will decide on a case by case basis.
In the dormitories, community care facilities and community recovery facilities, we have been educating workers and patients on preventive measures for cardiovascular complications, such as good hydration, staying active, smoking cessation, and early recognition of symptoms. They are advised to seek medical attention immediately if they feel unwell.
As COVID-19 is a new disease, we are learning more about it as we go along. MOH will continue to monitor the emerging evidence, and work with our clinical experts to ensure the best possible care and outcomes for our COVID-19 patients.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)
The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.
She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).
Follow Anthea Ong on her public page at www.facebook.com/antheaonglaytheng