More Strokes Observed Among Young & Healthy COVID Patients – New Study Finds

A new study of stroke patients  hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic, has found a higher rate of young and healthy stroke victims, as compared to averages before the pandemic began.

The researchers in 136 hospitals across 32 nations found that some 25% of stroke patients who had also been sick with COVID-19, were under the age of 55,  as compared to onlky 10-15% percent of stroke patients in that age group prior to the pandemic.

The study released in the peer reviewed journal “Stroke” also found that aside from being COVID-positive some 25% of the stroke patients studied had no other obvious risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes or smoking. And many of the stroke victims had asymptomatic COVID cases.

The study results correlate with a growing body of anecdotal observations that COVID appears to be an added risk factor for stroke due to the tendency of the virus to stimulate blood clotting, among other pathological responses to the disease.

The study analyzed data from patients who tested positive for the coronavirus after they had been hospitalized for stroke and other serious brain events. Of the 136 different medical centres participating, at least 71 reported a patient who had a stroke during their hospitalization for coronavirus or shortly thereafter.

Of the 432 COVID-positive patients studied, 323 (74.8%) had acute ischaemic stroke, which is the most common kind, 91 (21.1%) intracranial hemorrhage, and 18 (4.2%) cerebral venous or sinus thrombosis.  Most troubling was the high occurrence of ischaemic strokes in younger patients with no known existence of the types of ‘classical’ risk factors that contribute to the onset of stroke, the study’s co-authors stated.

The research should help doctors to better understand “the connection between the coronavirus and strokes in younger patients, as a result of blockages in larger blood vessels,” said one of the study co-authors, Professor Ronen Leker, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a Hebrew University press release.

Equally worrisome, 144 of the COVID-positive stroke victims had had no recognizable symptoms from the virus, such as cough, fever; so the COVID diagnosis came only after they were admitted to the hospital for stroke.

Leker added that: “Going forward, we recommend performing COVID testing on all younger patients with strokes, particularly those with no known pre-existing conditions.  I am hopeful and confident that this study will be instrumental in providing a better understanding of the link between COVID-19 and stroke, and provide direct therapeutic benefits to patients.”


Image Credits: GJBrainResearch/Twitter, STROKE .

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