Ann. Intern. Med. https://doi.org/10.7326/M20-2003 (2020)
The infection of the upper and lower respiratory tract that becomes life-threatening pneumonia in severe cases is the hallmark of COVID-19. But SARS-CoV-2 infection is not always limited to the respiratory system.
A series of autopsies performed at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf on twelve PCR-confirmed cases of COVID-19 found detectable SARS-CoV-2 in the blood of six patients. Of those six, five showed viral RNA titers in the liver, kidneys or heart. The study also supported the possibility of a role for coagulopathy in COVID-19, as seven of the twelve patients had signs of deep venous thrombosis and, for four patients, pulmonary embolism was the direct cause of death.
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Carvalho, T. Extrapulmonary SARS-CoV-2 manifestations. Nat Med 26, 1806 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-01162-z