By Robert Preidt
The results could improve care and save lives during pandemic, the researchers said.
“This study is the first to show that the presence of neurological symptoms, particularly a stroke and confused or impaired thinking, can indicate a more severe course of the disease, even when the lung problems are not severe,” a said study co-author Dr. David Altschul, chief of neurovascular surgery at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
His team analyzed data from 4,711 patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to the Montefiore system between March 1 and April 16. Of these, 581 (12%) had neurological problems severe enough to require doctors to order brain imaging.
These patients were compared to a control group of over 1,700 COVID-19 patients of similar age and disease severity who did not exhibit neurological symptoms.
Of the patients who had brain imaging, 55 were diagnosed with stroke and 258 had confusion or impaired thinking ability.
Compared to the control group, patients with stroke were twice as likely to die (49% vs. 24%) and patients with confusion also had a significantly higher risk of death (40% vs. 33%), according to the results published online Dec. 18. in the newspaper Neurology.
More than half of stroke patients did not have arterial hypertension or other underlying risk factors for stroke, the researchers noted.
“This very unusual finding is in agreement with other studies of people with COVID-19 suggesting that infection with the novel coronavirus is in itself a risk factor for stroke, ”Altschul said in a press release from Montefiore.
The National Library of Medicine has more on COVID-19[female[feminine.
SOURCE: Montefiore Health System, press release, December 18, 2020