In a new study from the University of Washington, researchers found new evidence that COVID patients have an added risk of stroke.
They analyzed data on more than 20,000 U.S. adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between January and November 2020.
They found the patients’ risk of stroke was higher than for patients with other types of infections, including flu.
These findings suggest that COVID-19 may increase the risk for stroke, though the exact mechanism for this is still unknown.
In the study, the team found that 1.4% of COVID patients had a stroke confirmed by diagnostic imaging.
Of those, 52.7% had an ischemic stroke (caused by blocked blood flow to the brain); 45.2% had a bleeding or unspecified type of stroke; and 2.5% had a transient ischemic attack (also called a mini-stroke or TIA).
COVID patients who suffered a stroke were more likely to be male (64%) and older (average age: 65) than those who didn’t have a stroke (average age: 61).
The study revealed that 44% of ischemic stroke patients had type 2 diabetes, compared with about one-third of patients who didn’t have a stroke.
Eight in 10 ischemic stroke patients had high blood pressure, compared to 58% of non-stroke patients.
The heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation was found in 18% in ischemic stroke patients and 9% in those without stroke.
Stroke patients averaged 22 days in the hospital—12 days more than patients who didn’t have a stroke. In-hospital deaths were more than twice as high among stroke patients (37%) than in those without stroke (16%).
The team says as the pandemic continues, we are finding that coronavirus is not just a respiratory illness, but a vascular disease that can affect many organ systems.
If you care about COVID-19, please read studies about people with COVID-19 twice as likely to die if they have this health problem and findings of these blood types linked to higher risk of severe COVID-19.
For more information about COVID-19 treatment, please see recent studies about a new way to stop COVID-19 infection and results showing that this oral drug could block COVID-19 transmission fast.
The study was presented at a virtual meeting of the American Stroke Association. One author of the study is Dr. Saate Shakil.
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