COVID-19 Related Strokes are associated with increased mortality and morbidity: A multi-center comparative study from Bengaluru, south India

Int J Stroke. 2020 Oct 9;1747493020968236. doi: 10.1177/1747493020968236. Online ahead of print.


ABSTRACTBackground: COVID-19 related strokes (CORS) are increasingly being diagnosed across the world. The knowledge about the clinical profile, imaging findings and outcomes are still evolving. Here we describe the characteristics of a cohort of 62 CORS patients from 13 hospitals, from Bangalore city, south India.

Objective: To describe the clinical profile, neuroimaging findings, interventions and outcomes in CORS patientsMethods: Multicenter retrospective study of all CORS patients from 13 hospitals from south India from 1st June 2020 to 31st August 2020.Demographic, clinical, laboratory and neuroimaging data were collected along with treatment administered and outcomes. SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed in all cases by RT- PCR testing. The data obtained from the case records were entered in SPSS 25 for statistical analysis.

Results: During the 3-month period we had 62 CORS patients, across 13 centers. 60 (97%) had ischemic strokes while 2 (3%) had hemorrhagic strokes. The mean age of patients was 55.66 ±13.20 years, with 34 (77.4%) males. 26 % (16/62) of patients did not have any conventional risk factors for stroke. Diabetes Mellitus was seen in 54.8%, hypertension was present in 61.3%, coronary artery disease in 8% and atrial fibrillation in 4.8%. Base line NIHSS score was 12.7 ±6.44. Stroke severity was moderate (NIHSS 5-15) in 27 (61.3%) patients, moderate to severe (NIHSS 16-20) in 13 (20.9%) patients and severe (NIHSS 21-42) in 11(17.7%) patients. According to TOAST classification for ischemic strokes, 48.3% was stroke of undetermined etiology, 36.6% had large artery atherosclerosis, 10% had small vessel occlusion and 5% had cardioembolic strokes. 3 (5%) received intravenous thrombolysis with tenecteplase 0.2 mg/Kg and 3 (5%) underwent mechanical thrombectomy two endovascular and one surgical. Duration of hospital stay was 16.16± 6.39 days. 16% (13/62) died in hospital, while 37 (59.7%) had a mRS of 3-5 at discharge. Hypertension, atrial fibrillation and higher baseline NIHSS scores were associated with increased mortality. A comparison to 111 historical controls during the non COVID period showed a higher proportion of strokes of undetermined etiology, higher mortality and higher morbidity in CORS patients.

Conclusion: CORS are increasing being recognized in developing countries like India. Stroke of undetermined etiology appears to be the most common TOAST subtype of CORS. CORS were more severe in nature and resulted in higher mortality and morbidity. Hypertension, atrial fibrillation and higher baseline NIHSS scores were associated with increased mortality.

Keywords: COVID-19; India; Ischemic stroke; Morbidity; Mortality; SARS-CoV2; Thrombolysis.