According to a new study by the American Stroke Association, the risk of stroke in adults ages 65-74 infected with COVID-19 is at its highest during the first three days following diagnosis.
The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, examined COVID-19 as a risk factor for Ischemic stroke, meaning a stroke caused by a blocked blood vessel. The health records of 37,379 Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and, within a specific timeframe, hospitalized for stroke were reviewed. As they can occur at any time, stroked needed to have occurred within a control window of 7 days before to 28 days after diagnosis of COVID-19 to be considered relevant.
The analysis determined that the risk of stroke within the first 3 days of COVID-19 diagnosis was 10 times higher than throughout the rest of the control window, though risk did remain throughout the entire period. On days 4-7 the risk of stroke was 60% higher, though by days 15-28 from diagnosis the risk dropped down to 9%.
Patients’ average age at the time of COVID-19 diagnosis was 80 years old. 57% of patients were women, and more than 75% were non-Hispanic white people. No differences in stroke risk based on sex or race were determined.Quanhe Yang, PhD and lead author of the study explained the risk, “Stroke following the diagnosis of COVID-19 is a possible complication of COVID-19 that patients and clinicians should be aware of.” As for what can be done in terms of preventing stroke, he elaborated, “Vaccination and other preventive measures for COVID-19 are important to reduce the risk of infection and complications including stroke.”
The study authors reported no funding.