Ambridge Police Chief Mark Romutis died of a stroke he suffered because of COVID-19. He’s one among 5-to-6 p.c of sufferers to expertise lethal blood clots as a facet impact of the virus. Docs from Allegheny Common Hospital will function his case in a nationwide medical journal later this month.
A medical investigation that started with a cellphone name to a grieving police chief’s widow is shedding extra gentle on the merciless unpredictability of COVID-19.
The April 12 loss of life of Ambridge Police Chief Mark Romutis — not lengthy after coronavirus was first detected in western Pennsylvania — exhibits how medical doctors are starting to grasp an unusual however significantly harmful drawback of blood clots.
Romutis, 64, of Conway, was recovering from a comparatively gentle case of the virus when his well being took a pointy flip. The day after he and his spouse, Renee, had been discussing his return to work, he awakened to make use of the lavatory struggling to breathe. By the point his spouse checked on him late that morning, he couldn’t transfer his left facet. Inside 24 hours, medical doctors discovered a sequence of enormous blood clots blocking the arteries to his mind and bilateral clots in his mind.
It was the primary case of a stroke in a COVID-19 affected person at Allegheny Well being Community, mentioned Dr. Michael Goldberg, director of the division of neuroradiology. Later this month, the case will probably be featured in a report within the American Journal of Neuroradiology.
“Sadly for Mark and his household, there have been very extreme and dramatic modifications in his mind that we had been capable of take photos of,” Goldberg mentioned. “We thought that was an necessary contribution to medical literature to share with different medical doctors and researchers all over the world.”
Docs are studying as they go with regards to the virus, which was solely detected in China in December. Goldberg mentioned that early analysis from China signifies that 5 p.c to six p.c of sufferers with a severe case of COVID-19 may have a stroke.
“There may be now a larger consciousness to have when you’ve gotten a affected person with COVID-19,” Goldberg mentioned. “The primary focus is on the respiratory and respiratory issues of those sufferers, however we’ve got to be attuned to among the different issues that may happen.”
Whereas there aren’t definitive numbers on the frequency of strokes in coronavirus sufferers, the New England Journal of Medication printed a research this week on 5 COVID sufferers handled in New York Metropolis who had strokes.
Early analysis exhibits it tends to happen in additional severe instances, Goldberg mentioned, although Romutis is an instance of a affected person with a gentle case that took an sudden flip.
Romutis was medicated for hypertension, his spouse mentioned. Goldberg mentioned whereas hypertension is a danger issue for a stroke, it’s unclear but if that danger is multiplied by the virus.
“That is all comparatively new and so it’s totally exhausting to be definitive about any of these things,” Goldberg mentioned. “The truth that he had hypertension may have been one thing that put him at some elevated danger for a few of these issues.”
For Renee Romutis, Goldberg’s cellphone name asking if he may use her husband for a case research was comforting in a wierd method.
“The virus, it looks like it is representing itself in a different way in everyone,” she mentioned. “I feel it is necessary and I feel it helps the medical group to go, ’OK, nicely, wait a second, so he was wonderful the week earlier than after which he walked in, then he wasn’t wonderful.”
She and Goldberg hope Romutis’ loss of life will contribute to a nationwide dialog and dialogue about blood clots and strokes in COVID-19 sufferers.
“The extra we speak about it and the extra they begin discovering out, OK, this affected person had this, that affected person had this, possibly they’re going to discover some sort of frequent denominator someplace to point here is what’s taking place,” Renee Romutis mentioned. “I simply hope that someplace in there they are going to discover one thing that is going to have a optimistic impact on this positively horrible virus.”