Tim Tyus is 60-year-old musician that spent a week in an intensive care unit due to COVID-19 and pneumonia. Just one day after he got discharged from the hospital, just when he thought everything was fine, he started to experience symptoms of something else.
“I knew this was no regular headache. My face was getting tight, and it felt like my eyes were about to bust right out of my head,” Tim says.
He was rushed to the hospital where doctors discovered that he had suffered a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a rare form of stroke caused by a blood clot in the veins of the brain.
“CVST is one of the very few indications in neurology when, despite blood in the brain, we put the patient on blood thinners,” Dr. Kharal explains. “If you don’t treat that clot, and get those veins to drain properly, you’re going to have more pressure build up and more hemorrhaging.”
The blood thiner treatment worked. Within 24 hours, Tim showed improvement, he was sent home a few days later, and continues taking blood thinning medication for six months.
Dr. Kharal says certain patients with COVID-19 incur a thickening in their blood, which has been discovered in a few cases when autopsies were performed on deceased patients.
“My hypothesis is Tim had an inflammatory response to COVID while he was infected by it, which made his blood become thicker. That coagulation formed (a clot) in the venous part of the brain.”
Tyus says he’s thankful he went to the clinic when he did and is grateful to those who treated him, like Kharal.
“It’s life changing, I’ll tell you that. If you’ve never been through it, it is for me. It scares you, more than anything.” But he says he’s getting back to playing music and hopes to put out a jazz album in the near future.
You can find out more about blood clots and COVID-19 from Dr. Kharal in the video below: