Asian ethnicity is strongly linked to COVID-related stroke, reveals an analysis of stroke centre activity in England and Scotland during the first wave of the pandemic.
Data were collected for 1470 strokes among patients admitted to 13 hospitals between March and July of this year.
During this period, there were 86 strokes in patients with COVID-19 (81 ischaemic strokes and 5 intracerebral haemorrhages) in patients with COVID-19 compared with 1384 strokes (1193 ischaemic strokes and 191 intracerebral haemorrhages) in patients admitted during the same period without COVID-19.
Ethnicity was recorded in 86 per cent of COVID cases and 78 per cent of non-COVID cases.
Among patients with ischaemic stroke, 19 per cent of patients with COVID-19 were Asian - more than twice the proportion seen in ischaemic stroke patients without COVID-19 (7%). This rate is higher than that seen in people of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity. Ischaemic strokes were also more severe and more likely to result in greater disability and death when associated with COVID-19.
In 45 COVID patients who had an ischaemic stroke, cardinal COVID-19 symptoms occurred an average of six days before the stroke. Among three patients who had haemorrhagic strokes, COVID-19 symptoms occurred, an average, four days after the stroke.
Presenting the findings in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, the researchers acknowledge limitations in the study but point out that the data were drawn from 13 centres across the UK, possibly making it more representative than existing studies.