Risk of ischemic stroke in patients with COVID-19 infection: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Brain Res Bull. 2022 Mar:180:31-37. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2021.12.011. Epub 2021 Dec 31.


An ongoing global pandemic, the coronavirus disease 2019 is posing threat to people all over the world. The association between COVID-19 and the risk of ischemic stroke remains unclear. This study systematically reviewed published studies and conducted meta-analysis to evaluate the association between the risk of ischemic stroke and COVID-19. This study was conducted according to guidelines from the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. The protocol used in this study had been registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews. EMBASE, PubMed, Cochrane Library and Web of Science were searched from 1st December 2019-19th February 2021. This systematic review and meta-analysis analysed the combined effect estimations based on odds ratios (OR) with the random-effects model. Four studies were screened from 31,634 participants including 171 COVID-19 positive patients with ischemic stroke were included. The mean age of COVID-19 positive patients with ischemic stroke was 69.45 years (Range: 63-77 years) and the male patients were 56%. Countries covered by these articles were USA, Italy and France. Three of the articles were retrospective cohort studies and one was prospective cohort study. Our analysis revealed that the risk of ischemic stroke (combined OR: 2.41; 95% CI: 1.08-5.38) was significantly increased. Four included studies were significantly heterogeneous (I2 = 75.2%, P = 0.007). Significant association between the risk of ischemic stroke and COVID-19 was observed in the North America group (combined OR: 2.90; 95% CI: 0.45-18.80, I2 = 89.60%, P = 0.002). This study found that the risk for ischemic stroke was increased in COVID-19 patients, especially in patients from North America. Further studies with larger sample sizes that include different ethnic populations are required to confirm our analysis.

Keywords: COVID-19; Ischemic stroke; Meta-analysis; Risk; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Brain Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke / diagnosis
  • Ischemic Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors