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COVID-19 Impact on Stroke Presentations

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Acute stroke, Covid-19, Thrombectomy, IV tPA, Thromboembolic



Background: As Covid-19 evolved into a world-wide pandemic, hospitals reported marked declines in strokes, only to be followed by reports of increased numbers of young people presenting with large-vessel occlusions. We reviewed our patient data-base to determine if similar or other novel trends were present.

Results: Our Thrombectomy Stroke Center experienced marked declines in ED visits from 2,349 in early March to 1,178 in late April, stroke alerts dropped from 34 to 14 during the same period. Average monthly stroke admissions dropped from 34 in 2019 to 23 in 2020. Nonetheless, in March, we had 12 patients eligible for tPA, which is twice the typical caseload and was unexpected given the low overall stroke presentations. Although the neurointervention caseload was low, the patients were significantly younger. Of the acute intervention patients in March, 5 of the 12 patients were ≤ 60 years old, and two were in their 30’s. These trends are similar to those reported elsewhere but were highly unusual for our center as our catchment area is predominantly Caucasian with 34 % of the population > 65 years of age.

Conclusions: Even in low risk centers Covid-19 will likely impart unique stroke presentations. It will be imperative to determine the mechanisms responsible for these changes so we can institute effective strategies for optimal stroke prevention as well as maintain timely acute interventions.


Article available for free at PubMed Central:

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, v. 29, issue 10, art. 105077