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Stroke during Covid-19 linked to worse outcomes: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 06, 2020 Published on November 06, 2020

According to a new study, people who experience a stroke during the course of a Covid-19 infection seem to be left with a greater disability with stroke.

The researchers from the University College London (UCL) and University College London Hospitals (UCLH), stated that having Covid-19 at the onset of strok was also associated with more than double the mortality rate in comparison to other stroke patients.

The study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

The researchers further revealed that Asian descendants have a higher probability of experiencing Covid-19-associated ischaemic strokes (those caused by blockage of blood vessels supplying oxygen to the brain) than those in other groups in the UK.

Lead researcher Dr Richard Perry (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH) said: “Our study suggests that COVID-19 has had more impact on strokes in the Asian community than in other ethnic groups. We cannot say from our data whether this is because people of Asian descent are more likely to catch COVID-19, or whether Asian patients with COVID-19 are more likely to have ischaemic strokes or both.”

He added: “Some of the differences relate to what other studies are uncovering about COVID-19, in that it might make blood stickier and more likely to clot.”

The findings of the study also suggested that some COVID-19 positive patients are also witnessing neurological symptoms and that the infection may increase the risk of stroke.

The researchers analysed data collected from 86 people who had a stroke in England or Scotland and had COVID-19 at stroke onset, between March and July this year.

They compared the date to 1,384 stroke cases during the same period in people who did not have COVID-19.

The researchers found that ischaemic stroke patients who also had COVID-19 were only half as likely to leave the hospital without any disability as those without COVID-19.

The researchers, however, could not produce data on how long these excess disabilities might persist.

Ischaemic strokes in COVID-19 patients were around twice as likely to be caused by the blockage of more than one large blood vessel in the brain (18 per cent vs 8 per cent), which the researchers say suggests evidence of abnormal blood clotting.

They also found that the COVID-19 associated strokes were more severe, with an average stroke severity (NIHSS) score of 8, compared to 5 in the control group.

Co-author Professor David Werring (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH) added: “Our findings suggest that in some people, COVID-19 may influence stroke risk through its effect on excessive blood clotting or inflammation, and may also influence the characteristics and outcome of the stroke, including greater severity with a higher chance of multiple large vessel blood clots.”

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Published on November 06, 2020
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