Stroke and COVID-19

John Parkinson

John Parkinson is the senior editor for ContagionLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2020, he has covered a variety of fields and markets including diabetes, oncology, ophthalmology, IT, travel, and local news. You can email him at [email protected]

A review of emergency room records showed a very small percentage of patients had acute ischemic strokes, but for those who did, there was an increased risk of requiring long-term care after hospital discharge.

A review of nearly 28,000 hospital records shows that emergency department patients rarely suffered from acute ischemic stroke—just 1.3%—however, for those that did, there was an increased risk for the need for long-term care after these patients were discharged.

The findings were reported in the journal, Stroke.

“The risk of discharge to destination other than home or death increased 2-fold with occurrence of acute ischemic stroke in patients with COVID-19,” the investigators wrote.

"Patients with COVID-19 tend to have multisystem involvement and elevated markers of inflammation, which have been shown to increase the rate of death or disability," lead investigator Adnan Qureshi, MD, a professor of clinical neurology at the MU School of Medicine, said.

The investigators collaborated with the MU Institute for Data Science and Informatics and the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation to review data from 54 health care facilities. They found 103 patients (1.3%) developed ischemic stroke among 8163 patients with COVID-19. In comparison, 199 patients (1.0%) developed stroke among 19,513 patients who didn't have COVID-19.

In those patients who had COVID-19 and suffered an acute ischemic stroke, 45% were Black, 36% were White and 6% were Hispanic. They tended to have hypertension (84%), high fat content in the blood (75%) and diabetes (56%).

In terms of age, the mean for patients with COVID-19 and had a stroke was 68.8 compared with 54.4 for those without stroke.

The investigators noted that earlier studies suggested patients with COVID-19 who developed stroke were younger and without preexisting cardiovascular risk factors.

"Even if COVID-19 was a predisposing factor, the risk was mainly seen in those who were already at risk for stroke due to other cardiovascular risk factors," Qureshi concluded.