A new US-based study has found that hospitalised Covid-19 patients are at a higher risk of stroke compared with patients who had similar infectious conditions such as influenza and sepsis in prior studies.
The study, presented at the International Stroke Conference 2021, showed that 1.4 per cent in the Covid-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry had a stroke confirmed by diagnostic imaging during hospitalisation.
Of these, 52.7 per cent experienced ischemic stroke; 2.5 per cent had transient ischemic attack (TIA); and 45.2 per cent experienced a bleeding stroke or unspecified type of stroke.
“These findings suggest that Covid-19 may increase the risk of stroke, though the exact mechanism for this is still unknown,” said lead author Saate S. Shakil of the University of Washington.
“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,” Shakil added.
For the study, the team accessed the American Heart Association’s Covid-19 CVD Registry that included more than 20,000 patients hospitalised with Covid-19 across the US.
The analysis also found those with any type of stroke were more likely to be male and older (average age 65) than patients without stroke. Most of the ischemic stroke patients had high blood pressure compared to patients without stroke.
“Stroke on its own can have devastating consequences and recovering from Covid-19 is often a difficult path for those who survive. Together, they can exact a significant toll on patients who have had both conditions,” Shakil said.
“It is more important than ever that we curb the spread of Covid-19 via public health interventions and widespread vaccine distribution,” Shakil added.