News Release 

Research shows COVID-19 is an independent risk factor for acute ischemic stroke

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

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IMAGE: Puneet Belani, MD, Assistant Professor, Radiology and Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai view more 

Credit: Mount Sinai Health System

Journal Name: American Journal of Neuroradiology: http://www.ajnr.org/content/ajnr/early/2020/06/25/ajnr.A6650.full.pdf

Title of the Article: COVID-19 is an independent risk factor for acute ischemic stroke.

Corresponding Author: Puneet Belani, MD, Assistant Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology.

Bottom Line: COVID-19 infection is significantly associated with strokes, and patients with COVID-19 should undergo more aggressive monitoring for stroke.

Results: After adjusting for age, gender, and risk factors, COVID-19 infection had a significant independent association with acute ischemic stroke compared to control subjects (OR 3.9; 95% CI 1.7-8.9; p=0.001).

Why the Research Is Interesting: The first major peer reviewed study to show that COVID-19 infection is a risk factor for acute strokes.

Who: Patients presenting to New York City hospital for suspicion of stroke during COVID-19 pandemic

When: March to April 2020 during COVID-19 pandemic

What: First major peer reviewed paper showing COVID-19 can cause strokes

How: Retrospective case-control study with 123 patients presenting to the hospital for suspicion of stroke. Comparing the group of patients with stroke versus non-stroke, we showed significantly elevated number of patients with COVID-19 infection among the stroke group after stratifying for other known common stroke risk factors.

Study Conclusions: This is the first major peer reviewed study to establish a link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and increased stroke risk when accounting for confounding risk factors. Patients with COVID-19 should be evaluated early for acute neurological changes and timely workup should be performed in patients suspected to have stroke to reduce morbidity and mortality.

Said Mount Sinai's Dr. Puneet Belani of the research: "This is the first major peer reviewed study to show that COVID-19 infection is a risk factor for acute strokes. In a study of 123 patients presenting to our New York City Hospital System for suspicion of stroke during the COVID-19 pandemic from March to April 2020, we showed that COVID-19 infection is significantly associated with strokes. Patients with COVID-19 should be evaluated early for acute neurological changes and timely workup should be performed in patients suspected to have stroke to reduce morbidity and mortality."

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To request a copy of the paper or to schedule an interview with Dr. Puneet Belani, please contact Mount Sinai's Director of Media and Public Affairs, Elizabeth Dowling, at elizabeth.dowling@mountsinai.org or at 347-541-0212.

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