COVID-19 and stroke in young adults: a worrying and increasingly clear link

The large increase in the number of strokes in adults in their thirties and forties in perfect health worries New York doctors, who see a clear link with the coronavirus.

• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic

Physicist J. Mocco, who works at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, in Manhattan, explained to Washington Post that the number of patients with large brain blockages has doubled during the three weeks of the peak of the pandemic in New York. More than half of the cases had COVID-19 and were about 15 years younger than those with stroke but who did not have the virus.

“Statistically, these people are among the people least likely to have a stroke,” said Dr Mocco, which specializes in the field. For him, the link with COVID-19 is as shocking as it is undeniable.

“It is one of the clearest links and one of the deepest correlations I have seen. It’s a signal far too strong for chance. ”

“We used to think that 60-year-old patients are young to have large occlusions in the vessels,” said Eytan Raz, a neuroradiology assistant at NYU Langone. We’ve never seen so much in people in their 50s, 40s and 30s. ”

The New York fire department also reported recovering four times as many bodies from people who died at home during the peak of the pandemic. Several of them had died of a stroke.

Avenues for research

According to the analyzes which are starting to be available on the subject, the patients infected with the coronavirus have mainly devastating strokes, which cause death or which create irreparable damage.

Several researchers believe that strokes in patients with COVID-19 may be a direct cause of a blood problem that leads to clots all over the body.

As neurologist Thomas Oxley of Mount Sinai has seen, when a clot is removed, others immediately reform around it. These clots can cause pulmonary embolism, heart attacks and strokes, all of which have been on the increase since the start of the pandemic.

At present, specialists cannot say whether these clots are the result of an attack by the virus or a reaction of the immune system.

“In the body’s effort to fight the virus, does the immune system’s response end up causing brain damage?” wonders the Dre Sherry H-Y Chou.

The neurologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center neurologist hopes to find answers in the analysis of the thousands of stroke and neurological complications seen in patients with COVID-19 in 68 medical centers in 17 different countries.

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