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LAKELAND, Fla. – A research team at Lakeland Regional Health has joined a national study to see if blood thinners can help prevent life-threatening blood clots from forming in people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is overseeing the study, researchers have found that many patients who died from COVID-19 had formed blood clots throughout their bodies. Blood clots that form in the blood vessels can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body and trigger heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the lungs) and other life-threatening problems.

Blood thinners, also known as antithrombotics or anticoagulants, help prevent blood clots from forming. These drugs have been used for many years to help prevent heart attacks and strokes in older adults who have been diagnosed with heart and blood vessel diseases.

“Some patients recovering from COVID-19 are known to suffer from blood clots that can lead to problems such as heart attack, stroke and leg swelling.  Since this is a new disease, the nation does not yet know the best way to prevent these problems,” said Daniel Haight, MD, FACP, Vice President of Community Health at Lakeland Regional Health. Haight is the site physician for the ACTIV-4 Outpatient trial in Lakeland. “The research uses medications that are already used to prevent or treat blood clots such as aspirin and Eliquis,” he said.

The ACTIV-4 Outpatient study will help answer crucial questions that help prevent complications of COVID-19.

The University of Florida and the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium are coordinating recruiting efforts in Florida with several of OneFlorida’s consortium partners, including Lakeland Regional Health.

The OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium is a statewide research network and data trust that includes 12 academic centers and health systems across Florida. OneFlorida’s network of 22 hospitals, 1,240 practices/clinics and 4,100 providers care for about 74% of Floridians in all 67 counties. OneFlorida is also one of nine clinical research networks nationwide participating in PCORnet, the national patient-centered clinical research network.

The NHLBI’s ACTIV-4 Antithrombotics Outpatient study, which is funded by the White House’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, is currently recruiting 7,000 participants at more than 100 sites worldwide to test the safety and effectiveness of blood thinners as a treatment for COVID-19.

Criteria to participate include:

  • Age 40 years and older
  • Diagnosed positive with COVID-19 within the last 10-14 days
  • Exhibited symptoms
  • Did not require hospitalization
  • Not already a taking blood thinner
  • Polk County residents

Those who meet the above criteria and are interested in participating in the study should contact the ACTIV-4 COVID Research Team at 863.284.1515 or lead investigator Dr. Daniel Haight at Daniel.Haight@myLRH.org. (Media who would like to interview Dr. Haight should contact Jennifer Audette at the above phone number rather than through this phone line.)

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