COVID-19 and ischemic stroke: a systematic review and meta-summary of the literature

J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2020 Oct;50(3):587-595. doi: 10.1007/s11239-020-02228-y.

Abstract

Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) is a life-threatening complication of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Increasing reports suggest an association between COVID-19 and AIS, although the underlying mechanism remains uncertain. We performed a systematic review to characterize the clinical characteristics, neuroimaging findings, and outcomes of AIS in COVID-19 patients. A literature search was performed in PubMed and Embase using a suitable keyword search strategy from 1st December 2019 to 29th May 2020. All studies reporting AIS occurrence in COVID-19 patients were included. A total of 39 studies comprising 135 patients were studied. The pooled incidence of AIS in COVID-19 patients from observational studies was 1.2% (54/4466) with a mean age of 63.4 ± 13.1 years. The mean duration of AIS from COVID-19 symptoms onset was 10 ± 8 days, and the mean NIHSS score was 19 ± 8. Laboratory investigations revealed an elevated mean D-dimer (9.2 ± 14.8 mg/L) and fibrinogen (5.8 ± 2.0 g/L). Antiphospholipid antibodies were detected in a significant number of cases. The majority of AIS neuroimaging patterns observed was large vessel thrombosis, embolism or stenosis (62.1%, 64/103), followed by multiple vascular territory (26.2%, 27/103). A high mortality rate was reported (38.0%, 49/129). We report the pooled incidence of AIS in COVID-19 patients to be 1.2%, with a high mortality rate. Elevated D-dimer, fibrinogen and the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies appear to be prominent in COVID-19 patients with concomitant AIS, but further mechanistic studies are required to elucidate their role in pathogenesis.

Keywords: Antiphospholipid antibodies; COVID-19; Hypercoagulable; Ischemic stroke; Thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Brain Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • Brain Ischemia / mortality
  • Brain Ischemia / virology
  • COVID-19
  • Cause of Death
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Stroke / virology
  • Time Factors