NEWS

Risk of ischaemic stroke higher with COVID-19 than influenza

Original research has been published comparing the risk of ischaemic stroke in patients with COVID-19 with that in patients with influenza, a respiratory disease previously associated with stroke.

This retrospective cohort study was conducted to determine whether COVID-19 is associated with a higher risk of ischaemic stroke than would be expected from a viral respiratory infection, and compared cohorts of adults admitted to the emergency department or hospitalised for either COVID-19 or influenza. Both infections were confirmed by laboratory testing, and the presence of acute ischaemic stroke was confirmed by a panel of neurologists.

The study found that, of 1916 patients admitted to the emergency department or hospitalised for COVID-19, 31 had an acute ischaemic stroke. In contrast, 3 of 1486 patients admitted to the emergency department or hospitalised for influenza had an acute ischaemic stroke. Therefore, approximately 1.6% of adults admitted to the emergency department or hospitalised for COVID-19  experienced ischemic stroke, a higher rate of stroke than that of patients with influenza.