Complication of H1N1 flu includes pulmonary emboli
A study published online Oct. 14, 2009, in the American Journal of Roentgenology warns that H1N1 flu can cause pulmonary emboli. The study authors suggest evaluation with CT scan for the presence of pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the lungs) when caring for patients diagnosed with respiratory complications from H1N1 flu.
Blood clots in the lungs can lead to death. The current study suggests that patients should be screened for pulmonary emboli using CT scan. The findings are based on examination of 61 patients diagnosed with H1N1 flu at University of Michigan Health Service.
Fourteen patients from one group studied were admitted to ICU – five had developed pulmonary emboli. A second group of 52 patients were also included in the study with H1N1 flu but not admitted to ICU.
According to Prachi P. Agarwal, M.D., lead author of the study, "Our study suggests that patients who are severely ill with H1N1 are also at risk for developing PE [pulmonary embolus], which should be carefully sought for on contrast-enhanced CT scans."
The study authors also say that most patients with H1N1 flu have normal chest-x-rays, but it is important to recognize the potential complication of pulmonary emboli. Blood clots in the lung from H1N1 flu require aggressive treatment with blood thinners (anticoagulants).