DANVILLE – Among people with stroke and COVID-19, there is a higher incidence of severe stroke as well as stroke among young people, new data from multinational COVID-19 study group shows and stroke, led by a team of Geisinger researchers.
The latest report from the COVID-19 Stroke Study Group, published in the journal Stroke, focused on a group of 432 patients from 17 countries diagnosed with COVID-19 and stroke. Among this group, the study found a significantly higher incidence of large vessel occlusion (LVO) – strokes caused by a blockage in one of the main arteries in the brain that are usually associated with more severe symptoms. . Almost 45% of strokes in the study group were LVO; in the general population, 24 to 38% of ischemic strokes are GVO.
The study group also had a high percentage of young stroke patients: more than a third were under 55 and almost half were under 65. 21% among people under 65.
Data showed that milder strokes, mostly in critically ill patients or overwhelmed health centers, were underdiagnosed. This finding is important, the research team said, because a minor or less severe stroke can be a significant risk factor for a more serious stroke in the future.
“Our observation of a higher median stroke severity in countries with lower healthcare spending may reflect a lower ability to diagnose mild strokes in patients during the pandemic, but it may also indicate that patients with mild stroke symptoms refused to show up to hospitals, “ said Ramin Zand, MD, vascular neurologist and clinician scientist at Geisinger and study group leader.
Throughout the pandemic, people with COVID-19 have reported symptoms involving the nervous system, ranging from loss of smell or taste to more serious and life-threatening conditions such as altered mental status, meningitis and stroke. A group of Geisinger scientists and a team of experts from around the world formed the COVID-19 Stroke Study Group shortly after the pandemic began to study the correlation between COVID-19 infection and the risk of stroke.
Results from the first phase of the study, which included data from 26,175 patients, indicated an overall stroke risk of 0.5% to 1.2% in hospitalized patients infected with COVID-19. The discovery demonstrated that while there are increasing reports of COVID-19 patients having suffered a stroke, the overall risk is low.
“Our initial data showed that the overall incidence of stroke was low in patients with COVID-19, and while that has not changed, this new data shows that there are certain groups of patients – for example example, younger patients – who are more affected. , “ said Vida Abedi, Ph.D., scientist in the Department of Molecular and Functional Genomics at Geisinger. “We hope that these results will highlight new directions of research to better identify patients at risk and help improve the quality of care. “
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