COVID-19 – cause of death or related disease: response of pathologists

Patients with COVID-19 die “from” or “C” cov. Conducted the autopsy of the victims, the pathologists disagreed. About it writes DW.

COVID-19 - причина смерти или сопутствующее заболевание: ответ патологоанатомов

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Every night — as regular reports from the front — the viewers report how much is currently infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in their country, how many are recovered and how many dead.

But doctors in many countries affected by the pandemic, arguing about whether they die of infected people or COVID-19 or the disease is a concomitant and cause of death is chronic illnesses. The answers, in theory, should give the results of the autopsy of the bodies.

Institute named Koch was initially against autopsies

At the initial stage of the epidemic of coronavirus in Germany state Institute named Robert Koch (RKI), which is coordinating the country’s fight against infectious diseases, for security reasons, not recommended for autopsies of the dead patients with the presence in the body of SARS-CoV-2. At the beginning of April RKI on its website strongly recommended “to avoid an internal examination, make opening or other action, causing a spray leak”.

The Institute then changed its mind, and Deputy Director Lars Shade (Lars Schaade) at a press conference in Berlin even specifically pointed out the importance for autopsies as often as possible.

The only way to establish, he added a coronavirus that affects a lot more internal organs than it can be judged by the first data obtained from China.

However, in German morgues from the beginning not to listen to the recommendations of the RKI, which the Chairman of the Federal Association of German pathologists Friedrich Carl Burris (Karl Friedrich Bürrig) called “unfortunate mistake.” With all the modern infectious diseases autopsy is very important to determine the course of the disease, including COVID-19, reminded Burris.

Database lead medical examiner of Hamburg

The most extensive database on this account amounted to Professor Klaus Pushel (Klaus Püschel) — Director of the Institute of forensics at the University clinic of Hamburg .

From 22 March to 11 April, he conducted autopsy of the dead 65 patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19. Without exception, in addition to the disease, suffering and others. So, 46 people were still in the life of “the legochniki”, 28 had disease of other internal organs or transplanted organs, 10 had diabetes or obesity, 10 had cancer, 16 — dementia (total more than 65 because some patients had multiple diseases. — Ed.).

Now in the database Pushes information is already up more than 100 autopsies, which confirmed his initial conclusion: none of the dead did not hurt exclusively COVID-19. All had other diseases — cardiovascular diseases (in particular, suffered a heart attack), high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer, lung or kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver.

So Klaus Posel believes fear of the coronavirus exaggerated and says that COVID-19 “is not a particularly dangerous viral disease”. To treat this virus is necessary, according to him, seriously, but the hype around him, according to the Professor, called unfounded fears of the population. Among the unnecessary measures he considers, for example, the ban on farewell to the relatives of the dead.

“Dead though, and you should not kiss, says Pushel, but to look at them and even touch, if they are then to wash”.

Postmortem studies in Italy and Switzerland

Data received by Purzel in Hamburg, correspond roughly to the report of the Ministry of health of Italy, is not in the autopsy reports, and case histories 1 738 deceased patients. Have 96,4% of them in addition COVID-19 was at least another disease. It often had hypertension (70%), diabetes (32%) and cardiovascular disease (28%). The average age of death in Italy was 79 years old, in Hamburg — 80.

Hypertensive was and all 20 patients after death, revealed the chief pathologist of the Swiss University hospitals in Basel, Alexander Tsankov (Alexander Tzankov). Moreover, most of them were overweight, two thirds of heart troubles and vessels, one-third of diabetes.

But unlike Professor Claus Pushes, Tsankov not inclined to call COVID-19 relatively harmless disease. If they hadn’t contracted the coronavirus, reminded Tsankov, these people are now, most likely, would still be alive.

This circumstance drew the attention and the chief pathologist of the Berlin University hospital Charite David Horst (David Horst). The average age revealed to them deceased patients with COVID-19 is 69 years old, but among them was one 45-year-old woman.

In an interview with Berliner Zeitung, he confirmed that all the studied dead had chronic diseases — cardiovascular, hypertension, pulmonary insufficiency, some were obese. But, reminded Horst, “these diseases are very common in Germany among people over 65 years suffer from this disease every third”.

In fact, says the Berlin pathologist, in most cases, by themselves these chronic diseases a serious threat to life are not. But in conjunction with the coronavirus, they become extremely dangerous, especially for older people.

Answering the question of the Berliner Zeitung about the most frequent complications caused by coronavirus, an expert said there are three. The first is damage to the lungs, which begin to fill with fluid and eventually stop enriching the body with oxygen. Secondly, in the affected lung bacteria multiply rapidly, which often leads to inflammatory processes and sepsis. A third complication is the violation of blood coagulation, resulting in formation of thrombi, causing the collapse of the cardiovascular system.

As for the debate on whether patients died “from” or “C” COVID-19, Horst insists on the wording “from”. From confirms that all the dead were one or another chronic disease, but not big enough to die from it.

“I think it is very important to prevent that the coronavirus is not dangerous, because these people, they say, one way or another would have died,’ said Horst. Without the fashion industry, they currently would be alive”.

As previously wrote ForumDaily:

  • 20 occupations with the highest risk of infection with coronavirus
  • Penetrates directly into the brain: the coronavirus can infect the nervous system and provoke a number of complications
  • Coronavirus suspended vaccination against other diseases: the world is challenged by malaria and polio
  • 11 things that are dropped or become free during a pandemic
  • Possible treatment COVID-19: 6 monkeys was infected with coronavirus after administration of an experimental vaccine

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