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Frequency of Acute Ischemic Stroke Low in COVID-19 Patients

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- Acute ischemic stroke is infrequent in patients with COVID-19 and usually occurs in the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors, according to a study published in the March issue of Stroke.

Adnan I. Qureshi, M.D., from the Zeenat Qureshi Institute in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and colleagues analyzed data for 27,626 patients with emergency department or inpatient encounters at 54 health care facilities included in the Cerner deidentified COVID-19 dataset to assess risk factors, comorbidities, and outcomes in patients with COVID-19 and acute ischemic stroke.

The researchers report that 103 of 8,163 patients with confirmed COVID-19 (1.3 percent) developed acute ischemic stroke versus 1.0 percent of patients without COVID-19 (199 of 19,513). The proportion of COVID-19 patients with hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, atrial fibrillation, and congestive heart failure was significantly higher among those with acute ischemic stroke than in those without stroke. In an adjusted analysis including all COVID-19 patients, acute ischemic stroke was associated with discharge to a destination other than home or death (relative risk, 2.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 2.4; P < 0.0001). Among all ischemic stroke patients, COVID-19 was associated with discharge to a destination other than home or death (relative risk, 1.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.0 to 1.3; P = 0.03) after adjusting for potential confounders.

"Even if COVID-19 was a predisposing factor, the risk was mainly seen in those who were already at risk for stroke due to other cardiovascular risk factors," Qureshi said in a statement.

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