Stroke in Patients with COVID-19 Infection in a Tertiary Hospital: A Retrospective Study
Introduction. Stroke can be a complication and/or a presenting sign of COVID-19 infection. Although there is growing evidence on stroke in COVID-19 infection, only a few of these studies were done in Asia and there is very scarce evidence in the local setting.
Objective. This study aimed to characterize the clinical profile, management, and functional outcome of patients with acute stroke and COVID-19 infection.
Methods. This was a single-center retrospective study from March 30 to October 20, 2020. The demographic characteristics, respiratory symptoms, risk factors, neuroimaging, stroke characteristics, ancillary test results, treatment given, and functional outcome were obtained through a review of medical records. Computation of the mean, standard deviation, median, interquartile range, total count, and percentage was done for data analysis.
Results. Out of 2,018 patients with COVID-19 infection, 41 (2%) developed an acute stroke. The mean age of patients was 59.05 ± 14.04 years. Majority were men (n=24, 59%). Ischemic stroke (n=28, 68%) was the most common stroke with the anterior circulation commonly involved (n=21, 72%). The most common risk factors were hypertension (n=31, n=76%), cigarette smoking (n=18, 44%), dyslipidemia (n=16, 39%), and ethanol use (n=16, 39%). Among those with stroke and COVID-19 infection, 42% had mild infection and 29% had critical disease. The inflammatory markers were elevated in these patients. Upon discharge, 83% had a poor functional outcome (mRS 3–6). The overall mortality rate was high (n=24, 59%) with pulmonary cause as the most common cause of death.
Conclusion. Ischemic stroke was the most common stroke type in patients infected with COVID-19. The common risk factors were hypertension, dyslipidemia, smoking, ethanol use, and diabetes mellitus. The functional outcome was generally poor and the mortality rate was high. More studies are needed that compare these subsets of patients with a control group, including a longer follow up.