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COVID-19 presenting as stroke

Wed 29 Jul 2020

New research presents a series of four COVID-19 patients with acute stroke as a presenting symptom.



Acute stroke remains a medical emergency even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most patients with COVID-19 present with constitutional and respiratory symptoms, some patients present with atypical symptoms including gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, or neurological symptoms. Here we present a series of four COVID-19 patients with acute stroke as a presenting symptom.


We searched the hospital databases for patients presenting with acute strokes and suspected COVID-19 features. All patients that had imaging confirmed strokes and PCR confirmed COVID-19 were included in the study. Patients admitted to the hospital with PCR confirmed COVID-19 disease whose hospital course was complicated with acute stroke while inpatient were excluded from the study. Retrospective patient data were obtained from electronic medical records. Informed consent was obtained.


We identified four patients presenting with imaging confirmed acute strokes and PCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. We elucidate the clinical characteristics, imaging findings, and the clinical course.


Timely assessment and hyperacute treatment is the key to minimize mortality and morbidity of patients with acute stroke. Stroke teams should be wary of the fact that COVID-19 patients can present with cerebrovascular accidents and dawn appropriate personal protective equipment in every suspected patient. Further studies are urgently needed for a comprehensive understanding of the neurological pathology of COVID-19 and its effects on the nervous system.


Avula, Akshay & Nalleballe, Krishna & Narula, Naureen & Sapozhnikov, Steven & DANDU, VASUKI & TOOM, SUDHAMSHI & GLASER, ALLISON & Elsayegh, Dany. (2020). COVID-19 presenting as stroke. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 87. 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.04.077.



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