“[With] most of the strokes that happened in the setting of COVID-19 infection, patients had elevated clotting factors in the blood, which heads towards [the possibility that] maybe there’s some increased clotting with COVID-19 that drives stroke.”

A recently published prospective cohort study of consecutive patients hospitalized within a major health system in New York, the epicenter of pandemic, aimed to compare the clinical characteristics of patients with stroke who also have a diagnosis of COVID-19 with those of stroke patients without COVID-19.

Among the 3556 hospitalized patients with diagnosis of COVID-19, 32 (0.9%) had imaging-proven stroke. Data showed that cryptogenic stroke was more common in patients with COVID-19 (65.6%) compared with contemporary controls (30.4%; P = .003) and historical controls (25%; P <.001).

Lead study investigator Shadi Yaghi, MD, assistant professor, director, Clinical Vascular Neurology Research, NYU Langone, discussed the results with NeurologyLive, and detailed what particularly stood out to him from the data. He also spoke to the hard realities of diagnosing stroke that is directly related to a COVID-19 diagnosis.