Another study finds that COVID patients have a higher risk for stroke

(HealthDay) – New study adds direct evidence that COVID patients are at increased risk of stroke.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 20,000 U.S. 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 diseases, including the flu.

“These findings suggest that COVID-19 may increase the risk for stroke, although the exact mechanism for this is not yet known,” said lead author Dr. Saate Shakil, who is a member of cartography at the University of Washington.

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

Of those, 52.7% had ischemic stroke (caused by closed blood flow to the brain); 45.2% had an inflamed or undiagnosed stroke; and 2.5% had a transient ischemic attack (also known as a small stroke or TIA).

COVID patients who suffered a stroke were more likely to be male (64%) and older (average age: 65) than those who did not have a stroke (average age: 61).

The study showed that 44% of ischemic stroke patients had type 2 diabetes, compared with about one-third of patients who did not have a stroke. Eight in 10 patients with ischemic stroke had high blood pressure, compared with 58% of patients who had not had a stroke.

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

Stroke patients had an average of 22 days in hospital – 12 days more than patients who did not have a stroke.

In-hospital mortality was more than twice as high among stroke patients (37%) than in non-stroke (16%).

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

Research presented at meetings is usually viewed as a starting point for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

“As the pandemic continues, we are discovering that coronavirus is not just a respiratory illness, but a viral infection that can affect many organ systems,” said Shakil in a meeting press release.

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Further information:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

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