According to doctors, the new coronavirus appears to be causing sudden strokes in adults in their 30s and 40s who are not otherwise terribly ill reports CNN.
Hesitant to call 911?
Doctors say that these patients remain unwilling to call 911 because they have heard hospitals are overwhelmed by coronavirus cases and also to avoid going to emergency rooms because of the pandemic.
Evidence of Covid-19 infection effects
Growing evidence shows that Covid-19 infection can cause the blood to clot in unusual ways. Stroke would be an expected consequence of that blood clot.
Details of people treated
Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, and colleagues gave details of five people they treated.
All were under the age of 50, and all had either mild symptoms of Covid-19 infection or no symptoms at all.
Clotting in large arteries
Oxley said the virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke.
Sudden increase in incidence!
He added that their report shows a huge increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks.
No medical history
Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid.
Strokes not common in young
It is not common for people so young to have strokes, especially strokes in the large vessels in the brain.
“For comparison, our service, over the previous 12 months, has treated on average 0.73 patients every 2 weeks under the age of 50 years with large vessel stroke,” the team wrote in a letter to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine. That’s fewer than two people a month.
Stroke in a large blood vessel! What happens?
A stroke in a large blood vessel causes severe damage if it is not removed right away.
At least one patient has died, and others are in rehabilitation facilities, intensive care or in the stroke unit. Only one went home but will require intense care, Oxley said.
- The average person who has a large vessel stroke is severely impaired.
- It means it is a bigger clot and it includes one of the largest arteries in the brain.
- Brain cells die when blood flow is stopped, and the longer it’s blocked, the wider the damage in the brain.
- Quick treatment is vital.
“The most effective treatment for large vessel stroke is clot retrieval, but this must be performed within 6 hours, and sometimes within 24 hours,” Oxley said.
Call 911 if there is any evidence of stroke!
Oxley said his team wanted to tell people to watch themselves for symptoms of Coronavirus infection and to call 911 if they have any evidence of stroke.
“Up until now, people have been advised to only call for an ambulance with shortness of breath or high fever.”
The easy memory device for stroke, he said, is “FAST”: F for face drooping, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulty and T for time to call 911.
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