Literature Review

Higher stroke rates seen among patients with COVID-19 compared with influenza



COVID or conventional risk factors?

Asked to comment on the study, Benedict Michael, MBChB (Hons), MRCP (Neurol), PhD, from the United Kingdom’s Coronerve Studies Group, a collaborative initiative to study the neurological features of COVID-19, said in an interview that “this study suggests many cases of stroke are occurring in older patients with multiple existing conventional and well recognized risks for stroke, and may simply represent decompensation during sepsis.”

Dr. Michael, a senior clinician scientist fellow at the University of Liverpool and an honorary consultant neurologist at the Walton Centre, was the senior author on a recently published UK-wide surveillance study on the neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19 (Lancet Psychiatry. 2020 Jun 25. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366[20]30287-X).

He said among patients in the New York study, “those with COVID and a stroke appeared to have many conventional risk factors for stroke (and often at higher percentages than COVID patients without a stroke), e.g. hypertension, overweight, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, existing vascular disease affecting the coronary arteries and atrial fibrillation. To establish evidence-based treatment pathways, clearly further studies are needed to determine the biological mechanisms underlying the seemingly higher rate of stroke with COVID-19 than influenza; but this must especially focus on those younger patients without conventional risk factors for stroke (which are largely not included in this study).”

SOURCE: Merkler AE et al. JAMA Neurol. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.2730.


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