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Rate of Stroke Low in Hospitalized Patients With COVID-19

Cryptogenic strokes more common, mortality higher in COVID-19 patients than in controls with stroke

THURSDAY, May 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The rate of imaging-confirmed stroke is low in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, but mortality is higher than in contemporary controls without COVID-19 and historical controls, according to a study published online May 20 in Stroke.

Shadi Yaghi, M.D., from the New York University School of Medicine in Brooklyn, and colleagues compared the clinical characteristics of stroke patients with a concurrent diagnosis of COVID-19 who were hospitalized between March 15 and April 19, 2020, to the clinical characteristics of stroke patients without COVID-19 (contemporary controls) and historical controls with ischemic stroke discharged from March 15 to April 15, 2019.

The researchers found that 32 of 3,556 (0.9 percent) of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 infection had imaging-proven ischemic stroke during the study period in 2020. Cryptogenic stroke was more common in patients with COVID-19 than contemporary and historical controls (65.6 versus 30.4 and 25.0 percent, respectively). Higher admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores and higher peak D-dimer levels were seen in COVID-19-positive patients compared with contemporary controls. COVID-19-positive patients were more likely to be younger men with elevated troponin and have a higher admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score and higher erythrocyte sedimentation rate than historical controls. Significantly higher in-hospital mortality was seen for patients with COVID-19 and stroke than historical and contemporary controls.

“Our study suggests that stroke is an uncommon yet important complication of coronavirus given that these strokes are more severe when compared with strokes occurring in patients who tested negative for the virus,” Yaghi said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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