4th Jun 2020
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Leon Perera
Question No. 3643
To ask 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.
1. 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.
2. Among our local cases so far, about 1 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.