Increased risk of acute stroke among patients with severe COVID-19: a multicenter study and meta-analysis.

Published on Jan 1, 2021in European Journal of Neurology4.516
· DOI :10.1111/ENE.14535
Timo Siepmann17
Estimated H-index: 17
(TUD: Dresden University of Technology),
Timo Siepmann7
Estimated H-index: 7
(TUD: Dresden University of Technology)
+ 18 AuthorsKristian Barlinn21
Estimated H-index: 21
(TUD: Dresden University of Technology)
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Recent observations linked coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to thromboembolic complications possibly mediated by increased blood coagulability and inflammatory endothelial impairment. We aimed to define the risk of acute stroke in patients with severe and non-severe COVID-19. METHODS: We performed an observational, multicenter cohort study in four participating hospitals in Saxony, Germany to characterize consecutive patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who experienced acute stroke during hospitalization. Furthermore, we conducted a systematic review using PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library and bibliographies of identified papers following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines including data from observational studies of acute stroke in COVID-19 patients. Data were extracted by two independent reviewers and pooled with multicenter data to calculate risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for acute stroke related to COVID-19 severity using a random-effects model. Between-study heterogeneity was assessed using Cochran's Q and I2 statistics. International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews registration number: CRD42020187194. RESULTS: Of 165 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 (49.1% males, median age = 67 years [57-79 years], 72.1% severe or critical) included in the multicenter study, overall stroke rate was 4.2% (95% CI: 1.9-8.7). Systematic literature search identified two observational studies involving 576 patients that were eligible for meta-analysis. Amongst 741 pooled COVID-19 patients, overall stroke rate was 2.9% (95% CI: 1.9-4.5). Risk of acute stroke was increased for patients with severe compared to non-severe COVID-19 (RR = 4.18, 95% CI: 1.7-10.25; P = 0.002) with no evidence of heterogeneity (I2  = 0%, P = 0.82). CONCLUSIONS: Synthesized analysis of data from our multicenter study and previously published cohorts indicates that severity of COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk of acute stroke.
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