COVID Patients Face Higher Risk for Stroke

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) – A new study adds to growing evidence that COVID patients are at additional risk for stroke.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 20,000 American adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between January and November 2020. The analysis found that their risk of stroke was higher than for patients with other types of disease. infections, including the flu.

“These results suggest that COVID-19 may increase the risk of stroke, although the exact mechanism is still unknown,” said lead author Dr. Saate Shakil, cardiology researcher at the University of Washington .

The new study found that 1.4% of COVID patients had a stroke confirmed by diagnostic imaging.

Of these, 52.7% had an ischemic stroke (caused by blocked blood flow to the brain); 45.2% had bleeding or an unspecified type of stroke; and 2.5% had a transient ischemic attack (also called mini-stroke or TIA).

COVID patients who had a stroke were more likely to be males (64%) and older (mean age: 65) than those who did not have a stroke (mean age: 61 years).

The study found that 44% of patients with ischemic stroke had type 2 diabetes, compared to about a third of patients who had not had a stroke. Eight out of 10 patients with ischemic stroke had high blood pressure, compared to 58% of non-stroke patients.

The atrial fibrillation heart rhythm disorder was found in 18% of patients with ischemic stroke and 9% in those without stroke, according to the study.

Stroke patients spent an average of 22 days in the hospital – 12 days longer than patients who did not have a stroke.

Hospital deaths were more than twice as high among stroke patients (37%) as among those without stroke (16%).

Black patients accounted for 27% of COVID patients in the study and 31% of ischemic stroke cases, according to results presented Friday at a virtual meeting of the American Stroke Association.

Research presented at meetings is generally considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“As the pandemic continues, we see that the coronavirus is not just a respiratory disease, but a vascular disease that can affect many organ systems,” Shakil said in a press release.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

SOURCE: American Stroke Association, press release, March 19, 2021

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