Another study finds COVID patients face higher risk for stroke
(HealthDay)—A new study adds to mounting evidence that COVID patients have an added 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 infections, including flu.
"These findings suggest that COVID-19 may increase the risk for stroke, though the exact mechanism for this is still unknown," said lead author Dr. Saate Shakil, a cardiology fellow 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 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.
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%).
Black patients accounted for 27% of COVID patients in the study, and 31% of ischemic stroke cases, according to findings presented Friday at a virtual meeting of the American Stroke Association.
Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"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 said in a meeting news release.
More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.
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