Changes in red blood cells can help identify Covid-19 severity level: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 25, 2020 Published on September 25, 2020

A new study published in the JAMA Network Open said that doctors can identify the level of severity in Covid-19 patients by examining the changes in their red blood cells.

The team of researchers identified the changes in red blood cells during inflammation caused by aggressive immune responses that are associated with poor health outcomes. This gets worsened for people with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Researchers stated in their study that a standard test that quantifies size variations of red blood cells — called red cell distribution width (RDW) — can help the doctors identify patients with an elevated level of risk.

Researchers noted that patients who had RDW values above the normal range, when they were admitted to the hospital, had 2.7 times higher risk of dying. They had a mortality rate of 31 per cent as compared to 11 per cent in patients with normal RDW values.

Since the elevation of RDW is related to Covid-19 deaths, doctors can track the severity of the virus when a patient is hospitalised.

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Published on September 25, 2020
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