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Current Affairs

Low stroke risk in hospitalised Covid patients

Date: 29 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A new paper published in Stroke shows a low risk of stroke in patients hospitalised for Covid-19.

 

Background

These findings come after initial reports had suggested a significant risk of stroke in patients hospitalised with Covid-19. 

 

Details

  • Among the afflicted patients, the majority had existing risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

  • To evaluate the risk and incidence of stroke in hospitalised Covid-19 patients, researchers analyzed data from 844 Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital between March and May. The team also analyzed the data for cases of intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain).

  • Researchers found that 2.4% of patients had an ischemic stroke—the most common type of stroke, typically caused by a blood clot in the brain.

  • Importantly, the majority of these stroke patients had existing risk factors, such as high blood pressure (95%) and a history of diabetes (60%), and traditional stroke mechanisms, such as heart failure. Additionally, over one-third had a history of a previous stroke.

  • While there was an initial concern for a high number of strokes related to Covid-19, that has not been borne out under the research.

  • Importantly, while the risk for stroke in Covid-19 patients is low, it’s mostly tied to pre-existing conditions—so physicians who do see stroke in hospitalised Covid-19 patients must understand the virus is not the only factor, and it’s necessary to follow through with normal diagnostic testing.

  • However, there are still many unknowns and we need to continue investigating the linkage between stroke and Covid-19, particularly considering the racial disparities surrounding the disease.

  • Researchers say the results suggest that these cerebrovascular events in hospitalised Covid-19 patients are likely tied to existing conditions, and not the sole consequence of the virus.